The Mid-Week Beat: Here’s to the Singer-Songwriters!

Bob_Dylan_All_Along_the_Watchtower_single_coverOn this day, in 1967, Bob Dylan recorded “All Along the Watchtower” during a three-hour recording session at Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Dylan would perform ‘Watchtower’ live more than any of his other compositions in the 45 years since its release. It would be covered by countless artists in a variety of genres, most famously by Jimi Hendrix for his 1968 Electric Ladyland release.

Other artists who have covered the song include the Dave Matthews Band, U2, Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton, Supetramp, Van Morrison, Paul Weller, T.S.O.L., Bobby Womack and countless others.

While Dylan may be widely praised as a singer/songwriter, with countless artists covering his songs, he is just one in a long line of troubadours that have braved stages armed with little more than their words and an acoustic guitar. In Dylan’s day, singers that wrote their own tunes were relatively rare in popular music. Most pop singers sang other people’s songs or, occasionally, co-wrote their own songs.

What separates the “singer/songwriter” from other musicans is that they often provide the sole accompaniment to an entire composition, typically using only a guitar or piano and the compositions are written primarily as a solo vehicle. While in Dylan’s day, singer/songwriters were largely associated with the folk tradition, Dylan influenced many in the rock community to follow a similar path. As a result, singer/songwriters became a powerful force in popular music in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the success of artists like Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Paul Simon, Randy Newman, James Taylor and countless others.
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BPT’s Featured Producer: Kevin Sur from Artist Home

Kevin Sur is the co-founder of Artist Home, a Seattle-based booking agency that’s been making waves in the Northwest music scene with their unique approach to event production. He is also the talent buyer for the Columbia City Theater , a beautiful and historic 300-capacity venue in South Seattle. Since Artist Home took over the venue in 2010, they have transformed the once-struggling venue into what SPIN magazine calls “The city’s finest sounding room” and one that artists now clamor to perform in, despite its out-of-the-way location. Since Kevin’s been at the theater, many bands have experienced their first sold out shows, including The Head and the Heart, who are now making waves nationally after signing to legendary local label Sub Pop and appearing on Conan.

Kevin got his start in the Bay Area DIY punk scene, booking shows with bands he dug. He brought that approach to booking with him to Seattle and to Artist Home, which was established in 2008. Artist Home strives to create unique events that stand out from the norm. Whether it be focusing on niche genres, creating family-friendly events featuring music everyone can enjoy, or producing unique music festivals, Artist Home are a booking agency that thinks outside of the box. They’re also clearly passionate about their events and the bands they book; that passion shines through in everything that they do.
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