Wednesday, October 21st – 7 pm
Dylan Goes Electric!

dylancover-HiResAuthor Elijah Wald in person at Bird & Beckett, reading from and signing his new book, Dylan Goes Electric!

Live music as well, with Elijah performing a few songs with his wife, the clarinettist Sandrine Sheon.

On the evening of July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at Newport Folk Festival backed by an electric band and roared into his new rock hit, “Like a Rolling Stone.”

The audience of committed folk purists and political activists who had hailed him as their acoustic prophet reacted with a mix of shock, booing, and scattered cheers. It was the shot heard round the world—Dylan’s declaration of musical independence, the end of the folk revival, and the birth of rock as the voice of a generation—and one of the defining moments in twentieth-century music.

In Dylan Goes Electric!, Wald explores the cultural, political and historical context of this seminal event that embodies the transformative decade that was the sixties. Wald delves deep into the folk revival, the rise of rock, and the tensions between traditional and groundbreaking music to provide new insights into Dylan’s artistic evolution, his special affinity to blues, his complex relationship to the folk establishment and his sometime mentor Pete Seeger, and the ways he reshaped popular music forever. Breaking new ground on a story we think we know, Dylan Goes Electric! is a thoughtful, sharp appraisal of the controversial event at Newport and a nuanced, provocative analysis of why it matters.

Elijah WaldElijah Wald started playing guitar at age 7, went to New York at age 17 to study with Dave Van Ronk, and spent much of the next twenty years hitchhiking and performing all over North America and Europe, as well as much of Asia and Africa, including several months studying with the Congolese guitar masters Jean-Bosco Mwenda and Edouard Masengo. He has worked as an accompanist to Van Ronk, Eric Von Schmidt, and the African American string band master Howard Armstrong, and recorded two solo albums: Songster, Fingerpicker, Shirtmakerand Street Corner Cowboys.

In the early 1980s Elijah began writing on roots and world music for the Boston Globe, publishing over a thousand pieces before he left in 2000, and his work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. His dozen previous books include Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues; How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ’n’ Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music; Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas; and The Mayor of MacDougal Street, a memoir with Dave Van Ronk that inspired the Coen Brothers’ movie Inside Llewyn Davis. He has won a Grammy Award for his album notes to The Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Box, for which he was also nominated as a producer, and his books have won many awards, including an ASCAP-Deems Taylor award and an honorable mention for the American Musicological Society’s Otto Kinkeldey award. He has an interdisciplinary PhD in ethnomusicology and sociolinguistics, and taught for several years in the musicology department at UCLA. He is currently based near Boston, wrinting, traveling to speaking engagements around the US and abroad, and performing in a duo with his wife, clarinetist Sandrine Sheon.