Conor Oberst & The New Dylan Syndrome

Conor Oberst & The New Dylan Syndrome

Posted 21 Oct 2016

It’s been a while since we had one. A new Dylan. Remember back in the ‘70s? Loudon Wainwright III, John Prine, Steve Forbert… am I forgetting anyone? Oh yeah, Bruce Springsteen. The ‘70s was the decade of ‘new Dylans’. In the ‘80s we had Billy Bragg, Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman; no white American males in that lot so I guess the name didn’t apply. (John Wesley Harding was so obviously asking for it that he didn’t get it.) The  ‘90s saw the birth of ‘alt-country’ so there were new tags to bandy about then. Oh there was Todd Snider of course.

Truth be told Conor Obert has been around for a while and the subject of the ‘new Dylan’ tag since early in the century, but his new and completely solo acoustic album Ruminations seems to have given the Dylan comparisons renewed currency. It is a heavy tag to wear though - three out of the seventies names I mentioned seemed to wilt under the pressure – so let’s not burden Conor anymore. Suffice to say the still-young man from Omaha, Nebraska is a genuinely fine singer-songwriter and if you like any of the other new Dylans you could do worse than check out Ruminations (on Nonesuch no less), or have a gander at him playing three of the new songs live for the first time for NPR the other day here:

You can find Ruminations here.

- DL

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