Bloomington relived Bob Dylan’s classics with a traveling group of Indiana musicians called Hoosier Dylan on Saturday at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
Folksinger-Americana artist Tim Grimm organized the group after he was inspired by Bob Dylan and his caravan of musicians who traveled the northeast and performed in theaters together in the late 1970s.
The group includes solo performers and musical groups as well as Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf, who read poetry to the sounds of musician Gordon Bonham’s guitar.
“Bob Dylan doesn’t get recognized for his fusion of American music,” said Tom Roznowski of Tom Roznowski and the Living Daylights, which was one of the musical groups in Hoosier Dylan.
Roznowski said any artist who picks up a guitar to sing with his or her own composition owes a great debt to Bob Dylan.
“Early on, he was quite the blues man and later on borrowing from Willie Lomax and such,” Bonham said.
Bonham played Dylan’s blues tunes with Hoosier Dylan’s house band, which included a cellist, an accordionist, a bassist, a guitarist and a drummer who produced the sweet southern melodies.
“We had a great time. It’s easy to have a good time when you start by playing great songs,” said performer Jason Wilbur, who has been playing his guitar in Bloomington since 1985. “Bob Dylan’s songs have a lot of depth, but there is room as an artist to add your own interpretation of the melodies, which makes it more fun to perform.”
Freshman Tyler Simnick said he has been listening to Dylan’s music for the past four years.
“I want to see how these artists can arrange the songs to take liberties of their own,” he said.
Bobbie Lancaster from Stella & Jane joined the band Jouyous Garde from Columbus High School in Columbus, Ind., in a rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man” to mesh her voice with lead singer Connor Grimm against a harmonica backdrop.
Before taking the stage with Stella & Jane, Lancaster sang a couple of songs with the house band.
“If you feel like dancing, the aisles are still open,” she said after taking the stage. She later played her version of Dylan’s “Masters of War.”
“The first time I heard this song I was 13, and the Persian Gulf War was going on,” Lancaster said. “So if you don’t know me and want to know what I think about what’s going on in the world right now, listen to this song.”
After seeing Lancaster at the Uptown Cafe, local resident Bradley Drake said he didn’t want to miss out on the showcase of local musicians.
“I appreciate that Bobbie related the song to what she remembers as a kid within that time frame,” he said. “Bob Dylan’s music speaks to all generations.”
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