Being on the production team for another year of the Musicare’s Person of the Year event is always an honor and a privilege. But this year took amazing to another level. That’s the hardest of the hard to do, because each year pays tribute to the music industry’s icons. The cream of the cream of the crop….
It wasn’t that the amazing artists who played performance tribute could dip into arguably the most prolific body of songs to chose from. It wasn’t the entertainment industry’s best and brightest who rushed to their seats in anticipation of seeing and hearing a man who made a career out of not being seen nor heard, unless it was on his terms. And it wasn’t even President Jimmy Carter himself introducing him as a man who’s words had more impact than all of the Presidents combined.
It was the approx. 43 minutes that Bob Dylan spoke. He spoke about his career, influences, inspiration, detractors, critics, the global social mindset when he began, through his over 50 year career, and right to that very night. With razor sharp recollection and acumen he was like that person you thought was sleeping. Sleeping in his own world. But he was always paying attention. More than many of us who claim to be more alert to this humanity and the ground we inhabit. He fooled you, he fooled me, and he fooled even those who have been watching every move he has made.
And his words bounced, dipped, jumped, and hugged. Spontaneously they cut sharp then round, saucy then soft. And with the bump and rumble of the most skillful wordsmith who had the advantage of preparation. You could hear how his songs were born. Not far from his random thoughts. I was witnessing a once in a lifetime event….
He left me with life changing phrases. One that stands out is his recollection of a conversation with Sam Cooke, when Sam said ” a voice should not be judged on if it’s pretty. It should be judge on it’s ability to convince you that it is telling the truth.”
Towards the end it was obvious he was not going to perform. In the beginning I would predict I would have been, as others in attendance, disappointed. But I would not trade his words spoken for any performance. I’m sure all others would agree as well.
We heard the voice that expressed what generations could only think. And he somehow had a voice that would enlighten while giving you the feeling that he was just like the rest of us. if there was one common thought it would have been ” he is telling the truth.” That same thought the world had when they first heard his songs in the beginning. When he was changing the world one song at a time.
I walked to my car after saying goodbye to my friends and collaborators and looked forward to silence to make sense of what I experienced. And I thanked the author in my heart who seeded my love of music, for gifting me this night…..