Like many folks that have been lucky enough to be alive in the same era as Bob Dylan, I'll always remember the first time I truly heard his music, and had my first glimpse of what is possible with just an acoustic guitar, the right chords, and lyrics.
There's nothing I could say that hasn't already been over-analyzed, pontificated on, and thoroughly deconstructed relating to Bob Dylan. There's probably even a book on how many books have been written about him, his songs, and his enigmatic life.
All I can do is relate to everyone that can remember the first time you truly were gobsmacked by one of his songs--the first time you thought you found yourself in one of his lines, or felt camaraderie with him in a shared perspective about the world.
One of my best friends growing up in Rochester, Michigan, was Mike Tripp. I owe he and his father, George Tripp, a huge musical debt, as they were the first to introduce me to bluegrass music, and Bob Dylan. I remember George Tripp getting a kick out of Mike and I listening to the Beatles, Stones, and Van Morrison--the music of his generation--and I recall Mike telling me that his Dad said: "If you liked all that music--you should really check out Bob Dylan."
Mike dove in first, and then he (via George Tripp) opened up a whole world of music I had no idea existed --outside of the occasional spin of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" or "Like a Rolling Stone" on the local Detroit classic rock stations.
The discovery of Dylan for me coincided with me moving away to college in 1996, and Tripp outfitted me with a bunch of dubbed cassettes of Dylan and other artists. The tapes that got worn out first were copies of "The Bootleg Series" which were the first releases of a bunch of early Dylan cuts and outtakes that didn't see the light of day until 1994 or so, and I dove into those tapes with a zealousness that only youth and a raw heart can understand.
Those tapes and a Takamine guitar were about the only things I cared about for the first fall and winter at school, and one of the very first songs I ever taught myself to play was "Mama, You Been on My Mind." There was something in the sad aching beauty of this tune that just ripped my heart out, and made me feel like I had a fellow traveler in my angst filled teenage soul--struggling with what love could be, and what it felt like to have so much melancholic desire for someone, that you "don't even mind who they'll be waking with tomorrow." The lyrics of feigned indifference (which belie the longing underneath) will forever stay with me when I listen to or perform this song.
Oliver Trager called this song "an incantation"--and I think that sums it up beautifully.
The track here on Reflectere was one of the first I recorded on the album, using my wife's late 60's Norma classical guitar. I recorded the main vocal and rhythm guitar part live, and then overdubbed the guitar solo and vocal harmony. The harmony part features my great buddy and highly talented musician, Matt Cadenelli, who was staying at my place in Ventura while on tour. (Cadenelli appears on another track on Reflectere as well).
Hope you enjoy, and thanks for listening/downloading! This Wednesday, April 22nd, I'll be releasing the 6th song on Reflectere, "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson/Paul Simon. More on that tune in a few days...