Chestertown, MD — British author Michael Gray, one of the world's foremost authorities on the music of Bob Dylan, will present "Bob Dylan and the Poetry of the Blues" at Washington College's Rose O'Neill Literary House on Thursday, April 2, at 4:30 p.m.
For five decades, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has been a protean force in popular music. With trenchant lyrics that captured the tenor of the times, he dusted off the American folk genre and gave it a new level of social relevance in the turbulent '60s. Shocking the folk-music community by picking up an electric guitar, Dylan helped merge folk and rock, and has continued to evolve as an artist in the ensuing decades.
Dylan's voluminous output has spawned an ever-growing body of scholarship, and topmost in the knowledge of all things Dylan is rock historian Michael Gray. He is the author of The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (2006, revised and updated 2008) and Song & Dance Man III: The Art Of Bob Dylan (2000) — both definitive studies of Dylan's body of work.
The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia earned outstanding reviews from fans and academia alike: it won the C.B. Oldman Prize in 2008 for the year's outstanding work of research and scholarship from the International Association of Music Libraries, while e-fanzine The Dylan Daily declared it "the most important Dylan book, bar none." Rolling Stone hailed it as "thoroughly researched ... a fascinating reference — with essential information and cool arcana."
Gray's earlier Dylan study, Song & Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan, likewise garnered superlatives; UK Poet Laureate Andrew Motion named it one of the best three books of 2000, and Rolling Stone called it "endlessly illuminating."
Gray has been a hit on U.S. college campuses and in the UK and Ireland at festivals, theaters and arts centres. He's appeared at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and at the University of Texas at Austin where he drew the largest crowd of any outside speaker in the previous two years.
In addition to being recognized as a leading authority on the work of Dylan, Gray also is an expert on rock 'n' roll history in general, as well as the blues (particularly pre-war blues). He has authored or co-authored numerous other books besides his Dylan titles, including Mother!: The Frank Zappa Story and The Elvis Atlas: A Journey Through Elvis Presley's America.
Admission to "Bob Dylan and the Poetry of the Blues" is free and open to the public.