Released on May 16th, 1966, Bob Dylan’s landmark album Blonde on Blonde was recorded in Nashville after some lackluster New York sessions. The album and its legacy helped open the floodgates for rock performers coming to Nashville to record — an era revisited in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Blonde on Blonde‘s release, the Hall of Fame called upon the ever inventive Old Crow Medicine Show to reimagine the album.
For two nights only, the Nashville-based string band played the entire album through start to finish. Leader Ketch Secor injected fiddle and harmonica into bluegrass arrangements of songs like “Sooner or Later (One of Us Must Know)” and “Just Like a Woman,” while preserving the more traditionally rock arrangements in “Visions of Johanna” and “Stuck Inside Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.”
Secor also made a plea for Dylan to become a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, thanks to his lasting influence. Not just because he made three or four powerful records here, not just because he wrote country music songs like ‘Lay Lady Lay,’ which is pure country,” he said. Because he has informed every songwriter in our city. He is at the heart of what our town is all about, and he came here before many other folks did.”