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Through the lens of four seminal concerts,acclaimed poet and biographer DanielMark Epstein offers an intimate, nuancedlook at Bob Dylan: a vivid, full-bodiedportrait of one of the most influential artistsof the twentieth century, from his birth tothe Never Ending Tour.

Beginning with 1963’s Lisner Auditoriumconcert in Washington, D.C., Epstein revisitsDylan’s astonishing rise as the darling ofthe folk revival, focusing on the people andbooks that shaped him, and his struggle tofind artistic direction on the road in the1960s. Madison Square Garden, 1974, shedslight on Dylan’s transition from folk iconto rock star, his family life in seclusion,his subsequent divorce, and his highly anticipatedreturn to touring. Tanglewood,1997, reveals how Dylan revived his flaggingcareer in the late 1990s—largelyunder the influence of Jerry Garcia—discoveringnew ways of singing and connectingwith his audience, and assembling the greatbands for his Never Ending Tour. In abreathtaking account of the Time Out of Mindsessions, Epstein provides the most completepicture yet of Dylan’s contemporary workin the studio, his acceptance of his laurels,and his role as the éminence grise ofrock and roll today. Aberdeen, 2009, bringsus full circle, detailing the making of Dylan’striumphant albums of the 2000s, as well ashis long-running radio show.

Drawing on anecdotes and insights fromnew interviews with those closest to theman—including Maria Muldaur, Happy Traum,D. A. Pennebaker, Nora Guthrie, Ramblin’ JackElliott, and Dylan’s sidemen throughout the years—The Ballad of Bob Dylan is a singulartake on an artist who has transformed generationsand, as he enters his eighth decade,continues to inspire and surprise today.

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