Tag Archives: Americana

13 great Americana versions of Bob Dylan songs


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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September 6: Buddy Miller was born in 1952

Buddy Miller


September 6: Buddy Miller was born in 1952

A showman’s life is a smokey bar and
The fevered chase of a tiny star
It’s a hotel room and a lonely wife
From what I’ve seen of a showman’s life

Nobody told me about this part
They told me all about the pretty girls and the wine and
The money and the good times
No mention of all the wear and tear on an old honkey-tonker’s heart
Well, I might have known it
But nobody told me about this part
~”A Showman’s life” (one of his best songs)

“A good song can take a steel guitar, no matter where it comes from, I think about songs this way: I’d love to sing that song, whatever band is playing it. Great songs transcend.”
~Buddy Miller

“When you hear Buddy or watch him play, there’s a magnetic quality that draws you to his music.
~Jim Lauderdale

A Showman’s Life:

Continue reading September 6: Buddy Miller was born in 1952

April 03: The late Richard Manuel was born in 1943

richard manuel

“I play patterns. I’ll make up a pattern and just play it.”
~Richard Manuel



“Well, let’s see: I started [in music] at nine and quit. Then got back to it when I was twelve. Then I became a party star. In fact, I became a party!”
~Richard Manuel

April 03: The late Richard Manuel was born in 1943

For me he was the true light of the Band. The other guys were fantastic talents, of course, but there was something of the holy madman about Richard. He was raw. When he sang in that high falsetto the hair on my neck would stand on end. Not many people can do that.
~Eric Clapton

A nice tribute video – I’m just a country boy:

Continue reading April 03: The late Richard Manuel was born in 1943

November 11: Dave Alvin is 59 – Happy Birthday

dave alvin
I started writing poetry before I started writing songs. In my checkered college past I was a creative writing major at Long Beach State University, which had a great writing program, and that’s where I learned all the nuts and bolts that helped me out in songwriting. They forced us to write in traditional forms — sonnets, iambic pentameter — just so we could understand that writing wasn’t just splaying free verse all over the page. But then the more songs I wrote using all those poetic forms, the more my poetry become like prose, almost to the point of journalism…

~Dave Alvin (Interview by Jim Catalano)

Continue reading November 11: Dave Alvin is 59 – Happy Birthday

Drunkards, Misfits and Losers – Aaslandbros with Olav Larsen


This record is born out of love, love for music, love for traditional songs and love of playing. You can hear that the players really enjoy what they’re doing and it passes over to us listeners.  There is a thriving americana/country scene in Norway and quite a few bands are emerging. Not all of them are traditionalists or pure country performers, but there are elements of what Gram Parsons called “Cosmic Music” in much of the new music.

I’ve written about Olav Larsen and his different projects on several occasions(link1, link2,link3link4). He really carry a torch for this kind of music. I have never seen Aaslandbros live, but have checked them out on Youtube and Spotify, they are a very fine band and shouldn’t be looked at as “just another tribute band”. They are much more than that. By the way, I have seen Erlend Aasland in concert many times, he is involved in so many projects that your bound to catch him on a stage somewhere. He is a fantastic musician. It is a joy to finally hear him sing on an album.

Follow the Drinking Gourd:

Follow The Drinking Gourd was used by an Underground Railroad operative to encode escape instructions and a map (and first published in 1928). These directions then enabled fleeing slaves to make their way north from Mobile, Alabama to the Ohio River and freedom. The drinking gourd refers to the hollowed out gourd used by slaves as water dipper. But here it is a metaphor for the Big Dipper star formation, which points to Polaris, the Pole Star, and North. A map to freedom, so to speak. It has been done hundreds of times and it is a feat to make it sound fresh and poignant again, but Aaslandbros and Olav Larsen does.

From the press kit for Drunkards, Misfits and Losers:

A late summer night in  2012 singer and songwriter Olav Larsen sent the following to Aaslandbros:

I’ve seen your band , Aaslandbros, live on several occasions. I must say, I’m really impressed by the way you honor the late great Johnny Cash. Erlend Aasland’s voice, the rhythm section together with Erlend’s guitar playing is extremely good. I cannot stop thinking about this. Wouldn’t it be interesting to collaborate? I’ve got some unfinished songs laying about that could be the basis for a musical marriage between Aaslandbros and me. If it fits, and I can not see why not, we should share this music with people in the form of a record (EP) and some concerts. I envision some kind of  “Boom Chicka Boom Rocka Fucking Billy” with lyrics paying tribute to the drunkards, the misfits and the losers. Are you in?

Aasland Brothers answered: Yes.

19th Sept 2013 Olav Larsen & Aaslandbros went into  Egersound studio together with  Eirik Bekkeheien. When they came out,the  21. Sep  they had recorded four songs live in studio live i studio. The results are on the new EP, Drunkards, Misfits & Losers.

The record sounds like it would sound if Felice Brothers, Johnny Cash and Stan Ridgeway (Wall of Voodoo) threw a party. Dark, fun and very well done.

If I should make an ordered list of the songs i would do it like this:

No Good Reason
Follow the drinking gourd
I am what I am
and Maria #5 (I haven’t quite cracked this one yet, but I expect I will soon…)

Great contrasting voices with Olav and Erlend and the lyrics and music just fits. One of the finest songs of the year on my list.

Let us keep our fingers crossed for a full album with Aaslandbros in the near future (and hopefully with Olav Larsen).

Produced, played and sung by Olav Larsen and Aaslandbros.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Eirik Bekkeheien.
Beautiful cover design: Camilla Rosenlund.
The Aaslandbros are Christoffer, Erlend & Jørgen Aasland and Kenneth Andersen.

Drunkards, Misfits & Losers is available as a digital release on several streaming services and on iTunes.

I could not find any live clips of the songs from the EP, but here is a fine cover of Springsteen’s Highway Patrolman:

– Hallgeir