I can’t believe that it took me so long to discover the music of Bob Dylan. The recent Martin Scorsese documentary No Direction Home which aired on PBS, along with my colleague John Amos, served as the trigger. I’ve been hooked ever since. The most recent release – titled "Modern Times" – is absolutely brilliant. It is hard to believe that Dylan is still able to produce high-quality and thoughtful music. Today’s New York Times reports that Dylan seems to have "borrowed" some of his lyrics from Southern poet Henry Timrod:
Henry Timrod was born in 1828 and was a private tutor on plantations before the Civil War started. He tried to sign up for the Confederate Army but was unable to serve in the field because he suffered from tuberculosis. He worked as an editor for a daily paper in Columbia, S.C., and began writing poems about the war and how it affected the residents of the South. He also wrote love poems and ruminations on nature. During his lifetime he published only one volume of poetry. Among his most famous poems were “Ode Sung on the Occasion of Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina 1866,” and “Ethnogenesis.”
Mr. Dylan has long been interested in the Civil War: in “Chronicles: Vol. 1,” Mr. Dylan’s autobiography, published by Simon & Schuster in 2004, he writes about spending time in the New York Times combing through microfilm copies of newspapers published from 1855 to 1865. “I crammed my head full of as much of this stuff as I could stand and locked it away in my mind out of sight, left it alone,” Mr. Dylan wrote.
I just purchased tickets to see Dylan in Fairfax, Virginia in November. Although I’ve heard that his voice is not what it used to be live, it will be enough to be in the same room with a real American icon. Go out and pick up his latest release. You won’t be disappointed.