With work spanning seven decades, Bob Dylan has inspired generations of musicians. By now, there are musicians who were influenced by musicians who were influenced by Bob Dylan.
Born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing, Minnesotans take pride in Dylan’s ongoing legacy and status as one of the greatest American songwriters of all time.
To mark Dylan’s 80th birthday Monday, Steve Dunn, co-owner of Taco JED, opened the patio on his day off. His staff weren’t asked to come in on their days off. Instead, Dunn went to work behind the bar to serve drinks and invited any musician who wanted to play Bob Dylan’s songs to show up and take the microphone.
Well-known and experienced Southeast Minnesota musicians such as Calling Dinosaurs’ Tracy Sonnier and singer songwriter Luke Hendrickson performed. They shared the outdoor patio stage with players who had never performed in front of an audience. Their appreciation of Dylan bridged the gap in experience, and audience members were supportive and appreciative of all the performers’ efforts.
James Rechs said even some of Dylan’s oldest songs have meaning today. He performed “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” about a white man who received a light sentence for the unprovoked killing of a Black woman.
“I knew it was really, really poignant with the whole George Floyd ordeal,” Rechs said, referring to Floyd’s murder by a former Minneapolis police officer. “It was really timely.”
Here’s what a few of the musicians had to say about Dylan:
Rémi Moulder, Rochester musician
“I enjoy (Bob Dylan’s) music. I was definitely inspired by the musicians that came after him, like Jimi Hendrix and John Mayer.”
Moulder played "Wagon Wheel," a song made popular by the band Old Crow Medicine Show (Dylan wrote the refrain).
James Rechs, Rochester musician
“I’ve been a huge Bob Dylan fan since I was in high school. My mom introduced his music to me, and told me when she was a teenager, her dad threw away all her Bob Dylan records.”
Rechs said choosing “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” was deliberately timed with the anniversary of the death of George Floyd.
Erik Henriksson, Rochester musician
“My dad grew up in Hibbing, and my grandmother went to high school with Bob Dylan, so I feel like there’s a connection. It’s nice to be from Minnesota, and two of the artists I love the most are from Minnesota.”
Henriksson sat in with multiple musicians who played "Simple Twist of Fate," among other songs.