Tag Archives: Bonnie Prince Billy

13 great Americana versions of Bob Dylan songs

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13 great Americana versions of Bob Dylan songs

Americana is an amalgam of roots music formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the American musical ethos; specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and other external influences. Americana, as defined by the Americana Music Association (AMA), is “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.”

A while ago I did a post on my top 10 country versions of Bob Dylan songs (soon to be updated), since then I’ve been made aware of a lot more songs from people who read the original post. Then most of my pickings where of classic country leaning on outlaw country, in this post I will concentrate on the new generation of country/ alt. country.

Dylan Outlaw Cowboy

Here are 13 favourite Bob Dylan songs performed by Americana artists. Lets start with a great live version:

Bobby Long & John Fullbright – It’s Not Dark Yet:

What a wonderful sound and such a great performance. These guys are just so good!

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The Best Dylan Covers: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy aka Will Oldham – Brownsville Girl

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The Best Dylan Covers: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy aka Will Oldham – Brownsville Girl

Brownsville Girl” is a song from Bob Dylan’s 1986 album, Knocked Out Loaded, recorded in May of that year. It is notable for its length, over 11 minutes, and for being co-written by playwright Sam Shepard. The song is an overdubbed version of a December 1984 outtake from the Empire Burlesque sessions entitled “New Danville Girl”.

bob dylan knocked out

While as an album Knocked Out Loaded was poorly received upon release, “Brownsville Girl” is considered one of Dylan’s best pieces by some critics. Music critic Robert Christgau praised “Brownsville Girl” as “one of the greatest and most ridiculous of Dylan’s great ridiculous epics. Doesn’t matter who came up with such lines as ‘She said even the swap meets around here are getting pretty corrupt’ and ‘I didn’t know whether to duck or to run, so I ran’ — they’re classic Dylan.”

 Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy aka Will Oldham has played the song live, and it is a tremendous achievement. The size of the song, the amount of lyrics, man, it has to be tough to learn. Bob Dylan played it live one time, only one time, I mean, it’s a tough song to do. Not many artists have tried to do their version, Mr. Oldham has and he did a good job.

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Video of the day: Brownsville Girl (Dylan) – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

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 Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy aka Will Oldham is coming to Norway in May, playing at least three cities. It would be great to get to see him in concert, but I’m guessing it will be quite difficult to get tickets. Anyway, that’s why I chose him for the video of the day. That and the fact that he has recently played Bob Dylan’s masterpiece Brownsville Girl in concert, one of my all time favourite songs.

Brownsville Girl (Bob Dylan) covered by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy:

“Well, there was this movie I seen one time,
about a man riding ‘cross the desert
and it starred Gregory Peck.”

– Hallgeir