Bob Dylan

Published on May 28th, 2013

dylanA Festival For the Rest of Us

It seems like most summer music festivals that tour South Florida are sponsored by sneaker companies or violently named energy drinks. They cater not to sophisticated audiophiles but to tattooed slam-dancers and spiky-haired adolescents. So it was quite a relief to see that we’re being graced with a music festival devoted to “Americana” music, with a handful of AAA radio-style acts, normally confined to smaller houses, banding together to send blues riffs, pedal-steel twangs and spacey progressive doodling to large amphitheaters. The Americanarama tour, which kicks off in June at the Cruzan Amphitheatre, will be headlined by none other than Bob Dylan, an emerging artist who I understand may have a future in this business.

Kidding aside, Dylan’s music these days is, more than ever, an acquired taste: It’s less “voice of a generation” than “voice of the Cryptkeeper,” with his larynx emitting sounds somewhere between Tom Waits and the undead. Ever since 2001’s Love and Theft, his songwriting has changed too, becoming more direct and accessible; some may even say boring. His latest album Tempest, however, is a remarkable breath of fresh air from an artist intent on staying relevant. The paint-by-numbers ragtime-and-bluesman that Dylan has become in the Aughts has given us his most inspired album in more than a decade, with a handful of epic, poetic story-songs recalling his endless lyrical fantasias of yore. I for one can’t wait to hear tunes like “Early Roman Kings” and the title track played alongside classics from his extraordinary back catalog.

He’ll be joined by three more acts that could fill arenas on their own: Grammy-winning alt-country-cum-experimental pop act Wilco and the Kentucky hippie-rock powerhouse My Morning Jacket – both bands are coming off exceptional 2011 releases – along with the Grateful Dead’s sexagenarian guitarist, Bob Weir. More bands will likely join the party, which kicks off at 5:30 in the afternoon.

Tickets are $25 to $80 from Live Nation, and the show takes place June 26 at the Cruzan Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury Way, West Palm Beach. Call 561-795-8883 or visit livenation.com.

by John Thomason

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