The Dylan Project
Take four of Britain's most talented folk rock musicians and a unique singer,
add the repertoire of a genius, and you've got the recipe for a dream band.
The musicians in question are Fairport Conventions' Gerry Conway , Simon
Nicol and Dave Pegg, Little Johnny England's' PJ Wright (and singer Steve
Gibbons, lead singerof The Steve Gibbons Band.
As The Dylan Project, they present an exhilarating tribute to the work of
the greatest postwar songwriter in the English language - Bob Dylan. Don't be
misled by the word 'tribute'. Although the phrase "tribute band" can mean a
slavish facsimile or a big-name cash-in, The Dylan Project is far more than a
mere copycat act. The members bring their own distinctive take on the music,
Steve Gibbons interprets the lyrics with stylish individuality and, above all,
respect for a master writer and performer shines through every word, every note.
As Mojo's reviewer said: "The Dylan Project is a tribute in the best possible
sense. Touching and deftly handled, it makes you marvel, once again, at the
scope and majesty of this singular writer's work."
There is so much to relish in the Dylan Project. For a start there's the
laconic and charismatic Steve Gibbons, sounding uncannily like Dylan while
retaining his own inimitable vocal style.
As well as Steve's homage to Dylan himself, the Project's musicians are
equally fine interpreters of the virtuosity of The Band. There's PJ Wright's
scintillating slide and haunting pedal steel; Simon Nicol adding compelling rhythm
guitar and fine backing vocals; Dave Pegg bringing his beautifully subtle and
powerful bass lines, and Gerry Conway holding the whole groove with a tour de
force on drums and percussion. As a bonus on Dylan Project Live At Cropredy
Festival (the second album) John `Rabbit' Bundrick's keyboards commemorate the
characteristic quality which Garth Hudson's organ brought to Dylan's
mid-period. This musical cornucopia arose from an after-gig chat between Steve and Peggy
when the conversation turned to Dylan. "One thing led to another," recalls
Steve, "and Bob's your uncle - Peggy's offer of his services was just the spur I
needed to do what I had long been considering, an album of Bob Dylan songs."
That album, The Dylan Project, was recorded at Woodworm's studio in
Oxfordshire, produced by Peggy and released in 1998. As well as Steve, PJ, Peggy,
Simon and Gerry, there are guest contributions from Chris Leslie, Ric Sanders,
Maartin Allcock, Ben Bennion, and Mick Bullard.
But The Dylan Project is more than a studio ensemble. Since its inception,
the band has been entertaining audiences with an electrifying stage show. As
well as touring the UK's arts centres, concert halls and theatres, The Dylan
Project has played in Europe and appeared at festivals large and small - including
Cropredy of course.
The Dylan Project's repertoire spans the whole of Dylan's ouvre - everything
from Highway 61 to Mississippi - and new material is frequently brought into
the setlist. The recorded tracks include When The Ship Comes In, Simple Twist
Of Fate, Highway 61, It Takes A Lot To Laugh, Fourth Time Around, Lonesome
Hobo, Peggy Day, Stuck Inside Of Mobile, Dark Eyes, Down Along The Cove,
Absolutely Sweet Marie, I Want You, Winterlude, Ring Them Bells, Serve somebody, Just
Like A Woman, She Belongs To Me, and Like A Rolling Stone.
Whether you are a diehard Dylan fan or just enjoy great songs performed with
flair and brio, The Dylan Project will take your breath away.