Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bob Dylan -- ever evolving

"Everyone, it seems, is on the search to 'find themselves.' Instilled in us at an early age, the belief that we are all on individual journeys -- journeys that are supposed to end with us realizing our inner self -- is one that is central to this adventure we call life.

A number of people much smarter than I am have commented on this belief, but it is George Bernard Shaw's words on the subject that really resonate with me. The dramatist wrote, "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." I've always liked this idea, and it is part of the reason, I think, why I find the world of music so appealing.

Bands, and the musicians who compose them, have always embraced the quest for unending creativity. In a world of constantly changing sounds and setups, musicians are challenged to stay one step ahead of the game, continually producing new and innovative musical stylings. This usually leads to the reinvention of individual artists (Prince, anyone?). This recreation is what makes the music world interesting, keeping both musicians and listeners on their toes.

Take, for example, one of the greatest (and my personal favorite) artists of all time: Bob Dylan. Dylan is the King of Reinvention. Aside from being just so damn cool, Bob (I can call him that because we�re just that close) is the kind of musician who constantly strives to change with the times, never encapsulating one style for too long.

From acoustic folk to the electric rock to lyrics with a blatant religious focus, Dylan's music has had such staying power because as a musician the man isn't afraid to stretch and change. It’s a smart idea, really, because the more fluid a musician can be, the greater reach they will have in bringing in new and different types of fans.

There’s a reason why there were just as many high schoolers at Bob Dylan’s show at the Rave last spring as there were older adults. Every sector of the musician’s audience can find a Dylan era that excites them. Though each stage of Dylan’s career shows a different side of the musician’s talent, each is an authentic part of his person.

As expected, Dylan’s live performances reflect the very core of his music philosophy. Expecting to hear “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Hurricane” as I knew them, I was pleasantly surprised the first time I saw Dylan perform his hits on stage. The artist even recreates himself on stage, changing the time-weathered melodies of his greatest hits and showing an audience what true musicianship can be like. Bob Dylan knows what Shaw was talking about and will continue, I believe, to create and reveal new sides of his persona for the rest of his musical career."

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