The 2012 Bob Dylan recap(photo by Paolo Brillo)
There was no shortage of Bob Dylan projects to watch for during the 2012 calendar year. From art, to music, to tours, to books, fans had their pick of all things Dylan. With new rumors speculating of a staffing change within his touring band (with perhaps one musician leaving), 2013 promises to be a year of more surprises. Happy New Year to everyone from the entire team at Expecting Rain!-January -
Bob kicked off the new year in January when it was announced he would perform at the live television tribute to friend, Martin Scorsese.
Since Scorsese is a well-known blues fan – Bob & his band performed Blind Willie McTell in his honor.
Scorsese produced No Direction Home, a chronicle of Dylan's evolution between 1961 and 1966 from folk singer to protest singer to "voice of a generation" to rock star.
Although not technically a Bob Dylan project, Amnesty International released a special album of 72 Dylan songs performed by various artists ranging from Patti Smith to Miley Cyrus. All profits would benefit this world wide human rights organization.
Also in January, four new versions of Train Tracks from the Drawn Blank series were released in a limited edition signed by Dylan. (In August a further edition of eight signed prints from the Drawn Blank series was released in limited editions of 295 each).-February-
Life Magazine celebrated Bob Dylan’s life and 50 year career by publishing a Special Edition devoted to this very special anniversary.
South American fans were delighted when it was confirmed that Bob’s spring tour would be concentrated in that part of the world. Tour stops would include shows in Brazil, Argentina and Chile. The last time the NET stopped in this region was in 2008. -March-
In March, it was confirmed that Dylan would perform in Costa Rica during the spring.This would be Dylan's first concert in the country of Costa Rica and his first concert in Central America.
During March it was also confirmed he would return to Mexico, four years after his last performances in 2008.
An Official European tour announcement followed saying Bob and the band would spend a good portion of the of the summer of 2012 in Europe. Dylan went on to perform fifteen European concerts including his second performance at The Hop Farm Festival, the Citadel Music Festival in Berlin, Kunst!Rasen Gronau in Bonn, Lieder im Schloss in Bad Mergentheim, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Festival Internacional de Benicàssim in Spain, Festival Jardins de Cap Roig in Calella, Festival de Nîmes in France, Collisioni 2012 in Barolo, Les Nuits de Fourvière in Lyon and the Vieilles Charrues Festival in Carhaix.
American music producer, Quincy Jones, would be on hand at Montreux to introduce Bob and the band to waiting fans.
Introduced at the Hop Farm show, the Grand Piano would feature prominently for the remaining shows of 2012 tour year.
March 19 marked the 50th Anniversary of Bob's first album release, simply titled, Bob Dylan.
David Hildago of Los Lobos revealed that he was contributing to a new album that Bob was recording to be released in the months to come. This would be Hildago’s 2nd time collaborating on a Bob Dylan project. Hildago performed on Dylan’s last studio release – 2009’s holiday album, Christmas in the Heart.
The White House announces Bob Dylan will be the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to be presented by President Barak Obama. This award is the highest US honor that may bestowed on a civilian citizen.
An exhibition in Paris' Cité de la Musique called L'Explosion Rock '61-'66 was opened. It contained photos (many previously unreleased), objects, rare documents and audiovisual material. A compilation with the same name was released to coincide with the exhibition.-April-
Longtime friend and former drummer, Levon Helm, loses his battle with throat cancer on April 19th. In a rare public statement, Bob expresses his sympathy for the loss of his friend.
"He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I'm going to miss him, as I'm sure a whole lot of others will too."-May-
On May 29th, only five days after he turned 71 years old, Dylan attends the White House ceremony where he will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. Bob, who actually missed his cue, accepted his medal wearing dark sunglasses.http://youtu.be/sRqjErL4odw
At the ceremony, the President said of Dylan, "There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music," adding that the "unique gravely power" of his voice helped redefine "not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel."(photo by Paolo Brillo)-July-
On July 17th, a formal statement was made announcing the upcoming September 11th release of Bob Dylan's 35th album to be called "Tempest".
On July 18th, North American tour dates were announced. There would be a brief break in early September but the tour would resume in Winnipeg, Canada in October to be followed by all shows booked into large venues throughout North America. Mark Knopfler would be the featured opening act.
Although fans hoped the tour would showcase live selections from the new album, Tempest
, in fact only a handful of shows featured songs from the new album. Songs to be debuted during the tour were: Scarlet Town, Early Roman Kings, Pay In Blood and Soon After Midnight.
Bob also did a cover version of Gordon Lightfoot's "Shadows
" in Edmonton on October 5th. Although not officially confirmed, it's said that Bob played it as a tribute to Gordon, who isn't well.
In Chicaco on October 9th, Bob opened his show with an instrumental blues jam. There was much speculation about what instrumental it was, Rainy Day Woman, Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,
but after some consideration Boblinks.com could 'confirm' it was Robert Johnson's Sweet Home Chicago
Special guests would make appearances during this North American tour leg including Dylan's former guitarist Freddie Koella, in Santa Barbara, and the McCrary Sisters, who supplied backup vocals in Ohio on Blowin' In the Wind
. Longtime Dylan fans will remember the McCrarys for their vocal contributions during Dylan's gospel years.-August-
On August 29th, The Guardian U.K. premiered the video of Bob's first single off Tempest, "Duquesne Whistle
". The video is directed by Nash Edgerton, and is the first video to feature Bob in person since 2009's "Must Be Santa
". Later in October, MetroLyric.com premiered an exclusive 'lyric video' of Duquesne Whistle
. Sony Music asked fans to help create a modern lyric video with the use of Instagram.
Instagram lyric videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pubI970weAU-September-
September 11th - 50 years into his career, Bob Dylan's 35th album, Tempest
, is released. It would chart at #3 in US Billboard ratings. It is Dylan’s fifth consecutive top-10 album, selling 110,000 copies in its opening week. The Dave Matthews Band would take the top placement in the charts that week.
Retail locations called "Pop Up stores" are set up for one week in Los Angeles, New York and London. The stores specialize in selling Bob's new album along with related retail merchandise to support the release of the album. Autographed CDs are offered at a regular retail price on a first come-first serve basis.
Bob appeared on the cover of the US issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. Very animated in his repsonses, he discussed a variety of topics including politics, the biography of Hell's Angels founder, Sonny Barger and religion. Not surprisingly, the interview proves to be controversial.-October-
A comprehensive show of photographer Ana Maria Velez Wood's work took place for a limited time at Testbed1 Gallery in London. The show features images of Bob Dylan taken during the Blood In My Eyes video shoot. While only a handful of the photos have been seen before (one was used for the cover of Dylan's album World Gone Wrong
), most have never left Velez Wood's studio. -November-
Bob logged his first Facebook post to clarify a comment made the previous night speculating about the outcome of the US Presidential elections.
"Here's pretty close to what I said last night in Madison". "I said, from the stage, that we had to play better than good tonight, that the president was here today and he’s a hard act to follow". "Also, that we’re not fooled by the media and we think it’s going to be a landslide". "That’s pretty much all of it".
Record Store Day took place on November 23. A 7" vinyl release of "Duquesne Whistle,"
(a condensed version is track 1 on Tempest
) was offered to consumers for that day only. The b-side revealed a 38 year old alternate recording of Meet Me In The Morning
from the Blood On The Tracks
session. It's supposedly part of a new Bootleg Series, Vol. 11! Even though Vol. 10 has not been announced yet, the rumours have focused on “stripped down” material from “Self Portrait
” as Vol. 10.-December-
And just as we thought the year had come to an end, Sony Music releases a 50th Anniversary Collection, the Copyright Extension Collection
. It features four CD-R discs containing all the studio recording sessions from '62 and '63. It was an extremely limited release, only sold in selected stores in England, Germany, France and Sweden, and it's already sold out. This collection secures Sony Music to the copyrights for another 50 years.
2012 also saw the publication of two major new biographies among the "gazillion" of books which continue to be written about Bob Dylan. Rolling Stone founding editor David Dalton's book Who Is That Man? - In Search Of The Real Bob Dylan
attempts a glimpse at the man behind the legend, while Ian Bell's Once Upon A Time - The Lives Of Bob Dylan
is the first half of a two-part work which seeks to place Bob's life so far within it's historical, musical, literary and political context.-Looking Forward-
It doesn't seem to stop as the rumors for 2013 are already flourishing.
Duke Robillard is "supposed to" join Bob's band for his next tour. Who stays and who goes is yet to be confirmed.
The 2013 tour could make it's opening in Japan.
There are rumors about one or two releases in the next series to offical bootlegs.
There's also a confirmed new art exhibition called The New Orleans Series
-to open in Milan, Italy, starting February 4th.
___From all of us to all of you, have a Happy & Healthy New Year!The entire moderating team would like to thank Johanna Parker for her input on this recap and to Paolo Brillo for offering us the use of his magnificent photos of Bob Dylan performing live. Thank you, both!