As part of the Chimes Of Freedom Amnesty International compilation, Rise Against covered Bob Dylan's "The Ballad Of Hollis Brown."
"It was a real fun song for us to put together," frontman Tim McIlrath tells Rolling Stone. "It was out of the box for Rise Against."
The making of the song is documented in this exclusive behind-the-scenes video filmed in the band's Fort Collins, Colo., rehearsal space. The experience gave McIlrath a new appreciation for the track. "When you physically sing someone else’s lyrics, the story comes alive somewhat more," he says.
And what did McIlrath learn doing the cover? "For me, it was the story of Hollis Brown, the story of the farmer and his family and the hardships they’re going through. And also how incredibly macabre the story is – there’s no happy ending," he says. "To sing them as emotionless as Dylan sang them must have been a challenge in and of itself because the story itself is just so real and sad and dark and macabre."
For Rise Against, it's a natural to cover Dylan, one of their forefathers in bridging music and politics. McIlrath hopes this will provide a history lesson for younger fans of the band. "We’re not blazing a trail," he says. "Maybe for some of the younger fans we’re the first band they’ve heard do this, but I think it’s emboldening that there are artists like Dylan, like Woody Guthrie, there are even artists like Neil Young. I think that’s something important for real music fans to know."
The way McIlrath sees it, all they're trying to do is carry on a tradition. "We’re here to do what Dylan did for some people and inspire them to take what they love to do and their voice and to try to identify some of the world’s problems."
Rise Against will be kicking off a North American tour on January 17th in Austin, TX.
1/17 Austin, TX – Austin Music Hall*
1/18 San Antonio, TX – Illusion Theater*
1/19 New Orleans, LA – House of Blues !
1/21 Orlando, FL – UCF Arena*
1/22 Columbia, SC – Township Auditorium*
1/24 Norfolk, VA – Old Dominion University*
1/26 Kent, OH – Kent State University*
1/27 Chicago, IL – UIC Pavilion*
1/29 State College, PA – Penn State*
1/30 Poughkeepsie, NY – Mid Hudson Civic Center*
2/1 Lowell, MA – Paul E. Tsongas Arena*
2/3 Uniondale, NY – Nassau Coliseum $
2/4 Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center*
2/5 Fairfax, VA – Patriot Center*
4/15 San Diego, CA – Viejas Arena^
4/16 Bakersfield, CA – Rabobank Theater^
4/17 San Jose, CA – Event Center at SJSU^
4/19 Kent, WA – ShoWare Center^
4/20 Boise, ID – Century Link Arena^
4/21 Salt Lake City, UT – Saltair^
4/23 Rio Rancho, NM – Santa Ana Star Center^
4/26 Birmingham, AL – Verizon Wireless Music Center^
4/27 St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre^
4/28 Boca Raton, FL – Sunset Grove Amphitheater^
4/30 Tampa, FL – Green Iguana Stadium^
5/1 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade Music Park^
5/2 Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Uptown^
5/4 Indianapolis, IN – The Lawn at White River State Park^
5/5 Cincinnati, OH – PNS Pavilion at Riverbend Music^
5/8 Syracuse, NY – New York State Fairgrounds^
5/10 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre^
* = w/A Day To Remember and The Menzingers
! = w/The Menzingers
^ = w/A Day To Remember and Title Fight
$ = w/A Day To Remember, The Menzingers and GLASSJAW