Since he first started recording music, Bob Dylan has grown to become one of the most influential musical artists of all time. His lyrical mastery and intensely diverse backlog has hoisted him to become one of the most treasured American singers and writers of all eras. Either directly or indirectly (through the hundreds of artists he’s influenced), Dylan has had a substantial impact on most singer-songwriters across all generations. Woman and Dylan, a one night-two part show at the Charleston Music Hall featured 10 female artists from the Charleston area coming together to perform covers of their favorite Dylan songs. The show was designed to both praise and honor the influence of Dylan, and also to showcase the incredible female talent that lies within Charleston’s music scene, and the night did an excellent job at both.
The wide range of performers was definitely felt. Even when interpreting the same source of music, the artist’s own personal musical style was clearly shown. Faline, the first artist to perform, opened with “One More Cup of Coffee” to kick off the night. Her performance was sultry and soulful, two words usually not used to describe Dylan’s music. Jordan Igo’s rendition of “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright,” led only by herself and her piano was filled with passion and elegance that filled the entire room. Samantha Church’s covers were filled with the rock and roll passion of select Dylan releases; her performance of “Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence” had a substantial amount of energy that filled the room and led many people to dance.
While every woman brought their talent and own personal touch, the best performer of the night would have to go to Ann Caldwell. Caldwell’s covers were much quieter than Dylan’s original recordings, creating an increased sense of intimacy and beauty. Opening with Dylan’s deep cut “Most of the Time,” Caldwell was able to make Dylan’s words her own in perhaps the most intimate and beautiful performance I saw the entire night. Caldwell followed this up with “Moonshiner” and “Going to Apuluco.”
While the women fronting the performances were the real stars, the Western Polaroid’s Band (the backing band) played a substantial role in setting the show’s success. Adapting and changing to each woman’s style, they were able to create the ambiance necessary for the performer at hand, knowing when to engage fully in hard and powerful performances like Samantha Church’s “All Along the Watchtower,” and when to subdue and simply blend in on more intimate performances such as Ann Caldwell’s “Most of the Time.” The band knew exactly what energy to put into the performance, and significantly added to each song.
The Charleston Music Hall was probably the perfect place for a show like this to happen. The acoustics of the room were wonderful and accompanying, the area was crowded but relaxed, and the lights were well done but not too overwhelming to draw away from each woman’s performance.
In addition to showing off the lyrical and musical mastery of Bob Dylan, Women and Dylan did a fantastic job of showcasing the current diverse and incredibly female talent of the Charleston music scene. While some performers were definitely better than others, each performer was able to bring their own sense of style and tone in their interpretations of their favorite Dylan songs. In both Charleston and beyond, I imagine all of these women will have big futures ahead of them in the music industry in interpretations of other’s songs, and their original songs.
Written by Reader Meade
You can also catch Reader’s radio show, A Cosmic Drama, Wednesday’s at 9PM only on CisternYard Radio.