Mike from Toronto

Mike M. from Toronto, Ontario writes: 
Roly, Have been a big fan of you and Silvertone for years, seeing 13 concerts in the last 2 years. My question is was Bob Dylan ever an influence on your own music. I recently was at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and listening to several Bob Dylan albums, when it struck me that that the Killing the Blues album reminded me of Dylan’s work? 

P.S thanks for signing my daughter’s bass guitar. She is 16, taking bass, and is a big big fan of yours.

Roly:  Mike; Bob Dylan and I were probably influenced by a lot of common factors and maybe that’s what you hear in the music.  I came from the same part of the country as he did generally only he was a little further north.  That means that we had similar weather growing up in a non-coastal region.  The temperature in the winter around the western end of the Great Lakes used to be a lot lower than it is now.  And the snow can keep you inside whether you like it or not and your mind begins to wander when you can’t.  The worst thing that can happen weather-wise is a tornado and they come up quick and deliver a mean blow.  But the water is fresh and the general outlook was pretty regional and insulated.  Priorities are organized due to the elements and there is also an accent that you hear in the talk from around there.  The available music in the area would have been about the same…pretty diverse and for me… primarily coming over the airwaves.  Maybe this is part of what you’re hearing.  Dylan is a great writer who also proves the point that it takes more than a voice to be a great singer.  My favorite song of his is called “Fourth Time Around”  off his Blonde on Blonde record.  It’s one of the most cold blooded and warm hearted stories of the human condition that I ever heard put down in words in a song.  It’s as good a piece of writing as The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway (in my opinion).

Awhile back a friend sent me a book of tales from the Great Lakes.  these are shipping tales and photos even of some of the storms and about the weather conditions on that waterway.  I would say that…out of respect to the people who have been up against them in various ways…no saltwater ocean has anything on the intensity of the Great Lakes.    i grew up a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan but only went out on it in fine weather so was ignorant of the killer storms that have claimed lives and property in the north part of Lake Michigan in particular.  All this is worth looking into if anyone wants to get a feeling of life around the Great Lakes.

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