A CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED writer is heading to the Isle of Man in November to give talks about two music legends.
Michael Gray, author of Song and Dance Man and The Bob Dylan Encylopedia, will present Bob Dylan, Literature and the Poetry of the Blues at the Institute, Laxey, on Sunday, November 11 at 7.30pm.
The event is a witty, stylish talk with surprising audio tracks and rare footage. He will examine the Minnesota Bard’s interaction with literature and show how Dylan has been inspired by the remarkable, lyric poetry of the blues.
Mr Gray’s books may be immense but there’s nothing dry about his talks and he has been much in demand on North American college campuses and in the UK and Ireland at arts theatres, arts centres and festivals.
He has appeared at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio and at the University of Texas at Austin, where he drew the largest crowd of any external speaker in two years.
The subject of his talk, Bob Dylan, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 and is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. He made his first records in the early 1960s and he continues to release albums and performs worldwide. Among his most famous songs are Blowin’ In The Wind, the Times They Are a Changing, Mr Tambourine Man, Like A Rolling Stone, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, All Along The Watchtower and Make You Feel My Love.
The following night, Monday, November 12, Mr Gray will present Searching for Blind Willie McTell: A Biographer in the Deep South at the Atholl Room at the Peel Centenary Centre at 7.30pm.
In addition to his work about Bob Dylan, Mr Gray is the author of the acclaimed book Hand Me My Travelin’ Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell.
The publication was described by The Guardian as ‘A Wonderful book about a spellbinding musician’ while the Daily Telegraph called it ‘a vivid social and cultural history of the American South, a colourful account of Gray’s own journeys in McTell’s footsteps and an absorbing study in the business of biographical detective work’.
McTell never achieved stardom yet his music left a legacy for subsequent generations of musicians and his original recordings remain popular with country blues fans. In a song by Bob Dylan, named after the blues hero, Dylan states: ‘No-one can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell’.
The event will also feature guest artist Blue John (John Gregory) performing selected McTell songs.
This is a must for blues lovers and people with an interest in the American South.