Last year, Alex Levy and Austin Scaggs celebrated Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday with “Dylan Fest,” a two-night all-star tribute at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. After the first year’s success, it so now aiming to be an annual event. This year’s “Dylan Fest” brought together a wide rand of artists including Wynonna Judd to Elle King, Duane Eddy, Boz Scaggs, Valerie June, Shakey Graves and Hamilton Leithauser.
— The Best Fest (@the_bestfest) May 24, 2017
“Dylan is the end all, be all as far as we’re concerned. I honestly think that we should all be grateful that we’re living in a world with Bob Dylan. It’s maybe like people felt when they saw a Shakespeare play (when he was alive). That’s how major he is. It’s pretty obvious that this guy has done something with the language that has transcended the status quo for sure.”
This year may have been Dylan Fest’s second year as an official festival but for Levy andScags it is a project that is over sixteen years in the making. Since 2001, the duo’s tribute band “Cabin Down Below Band” has been hosting annual Bob Dylan tribute nights.
Austin Scaggs says they donate as much of the proceeds as possible to charity. This year’s fest benefitted the Refuge Foundation for the Arts.
“That’s how we really galvanized a lot of goodwill and energy around these shows. We give the money to charity. We buy all the beer. We buy all the whiskey, and we give the rest to charity, and we cover our nut, and that’s how it’s always been.”
Wynonna took to the stage barefoot and brought along her own players, the Big Noise, to perform their own adaptation of “Lonesome Day Blues”.
Former Civil Wars singer, John Paul White chose to play in his own words, “the most depressing song” he could find, “You’re a Big Girl Now” off Blood on the Tracks.
The all-star singalong of “I Shall Be Released” made for a fitting way to close out the night!