May 16 marked the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s landmark album Blonde on Blonde, which was largely recorded in Nashville with Music Row studio musicians. The album helped usher in the trend of rock performers coming to Music City to record.

To celebrate the Blonde on Blonde anniversary, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum asked the distinctive, Nashville-based string band Old Crow Medicine Show to reimagine and pay tribute to the pivotal album with two sold-out concerts, May 12-13, at the CMA Theater at the Hall of Fame.

For “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35,” the Old Crows give the tune a playful, upbeat treatment, with marching band-style drumming and the jovial aplomb of an accordion. Just try not to dance along.

Sticking to its inventive, virtuoso style, Old Crow performed with some instruments not found on the sessions for Blonde on Blonde — such as banjo, fiddle, and mandolin — and with a focus on steel guitar, which lent a wholly original and entertaining context for enjoying Dylan’s groundbreaking material.


The band also did “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” gathered around one microphone, giving the song a wistful, bluegrass, harmony-soaked yearning.

Nashville’s reputation as a music mecca is documented in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, which runs through December 31, 2016.

Want more Nashville? Don’t miss AG’s August issue, an insider guide to Music City, USA.



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