Season 4 of The Newport Record Club with Bob Dylan

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Nashville Skyline was one of those records that blurred the line between old fashioned country music and modern folk rock. How could this be cool or hip when it was sort of country and sort of folk? I could turn up to a party with my guitar and sing Dylan songs and not be considered a nerd…” – Rick Steele.

Regarded as the seventh best singer in the world according to The Rolling Stone Magazine, Bob Dylan’s impact on the music industry over the years is undeniable. Releasing his first album back in 1962, Dylan did what few artists have done before – he changed popular singing as we once knew it.

As the inventor of folk-rock and country-rock, Dylan wasn’t afraid to experiment with and cover a variety of different styles. Writing brilliant song after brilliant song, he was quick to become the voice of a generation and bring a rare intelligence and wit to the industry like no other. Writer of the world’s first anti-love song, It Ain’t Me Babe, Dylan has continued to surprise his audience and music enthusiasts worldwide with his fantastically written lyrics, retained integrity and unique voice and style.

The Newport Record Club | Bob Dylan

Join the Record Club

The Newport Hotel’s exclusive Record Club recognises some of Western Australia’s most iconic and beloved musicians. Boosting the local music in a very promising light, the opening night of Season 4 pays tribute to Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline with some of Perth’s most recognised talent. You can read more about The Newport Record Club and Co-Founder’s Steve Parkin and Malcolm Clark’s insight into the juicy details here.

Back by popular demand, Season 4 of The Newport Record Club kicks off Thursday 14th January 2016. Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline will be performed in all its entity to open a much anticipated season of the club up. For details and ticket information, make sure you visit the event page here.

Each week for the season, the Record Club will showcase leading musicians live on stage playing a diverse range of classic albums from legendary artists including Foo Fighters, Michael Jackson, Blondie, Rage Against the Machine and so much more. Stay tuned to find out more!

Meet Rick Steele and The Highway 61 Band

Growing up as the son of a preacher, Rick Steele’s musical journey began in church singing hymns. “I enjoyed myself and when my bros came home with a guitar in the late 50’s, I couldn’t wait to be a part of our holiday skiffle group”, he says. “In 1961 I was sentenced to boarding school so I mowed lawns in the holidays and brought myself a guitar. Armed with a few country, skiffle and gospel songs I began on the ‘long and winding road'”. 

It wasn’t long before Love Me Do and Blowing in the Wind changed the whole Shooting Match, and Rick arrived in Perth in 1971 where he began playing in bars and hotels. With a hit record already in NZ from 1969 Daddy Sung Bass, Rick was expressing his love for music in every way possible.

“I actually played quite regularly in the front bar of The Newport Hotel, then known as the Newcastle Club Hotel. In 1976 I returned to NZ to record an original album, ‘Take it or Leave it’. Unfortunately most left it so I returned to Perth with two kids and the need to start again!”

With a 20 year residency under his belt at the Indi Bar beginning in 1987, a vast touring adventure of the North and South West and crowned the founding member of the Perth Blues Club, which is now in its 24th year at the Charles Hotel, Rick Steele still plays every week as a solo, duo or band performance. He’s best known for the exploits of his children:

Luke Steele: The Sleepy Jackson and Empire of the Sun.

Katy Steele: Little Birdy.

Jake Steele: Injured Ninja, Yarhkob and Kuchka.

Playing with The Highway 61 Band to pay tribute to Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, Rick will be on acoustic guitar, vocals and harmonica along with:

Bob Patient: Keyboards (piano and Hammond).

Marc Gordon: Guitar and vocals.

Gary Cox: Guitar and vocals.

Roy Daniels: Bass guitar.

Gary Howard: Drums and vocals.

The Newport Record Club

Bob Dylan’s Masterpiece – Nashville Skyline

Released in 1969, Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline is a 2-side album of absolute classic songs. Combining intellectual complexity with carefully handcrafted music, folk landscapes and rediscovered romance, it’s no wonder why Nashville Skyline went on to become one of Dylan’s best selling albums of all time.

“One of the interesting impacts from Nashville Skyline was the collaboration with John Cash. How did a brash young folky protest singer end up with a country music icon doing a number? Those days it happened very rarely that you’d get a guest, let alone a big star on your album!”

By the time this album came out John Lennon especially had worked out that songs could be used for political purposes. Or at the very least, vehicles to say something meaningful and not just “she loves you, yeah yeah”. Nashville Skyline’s impact was that it was also one of those records that blurred the line between old fashioned country music and modern folk rock. How could this be cool or hip when it was sort of country and sort of folk? I could turn up to a party with my guitar and sing Dylan songs and not be considered a nerd”. 

“For me, the lyrics of a song is where I start and Dylan was the man that took a line and painted a picture. ‘All along the watchtower princes kept their view, and all the women came and went and the barefoot servants too‘ as opposed to Justin Beiber’s ‘Baby, baby, baby oh‘. This album – Nashville Skyline – make it comfortable for someone like me to purse the crossover styles of country, folk and blues which ultimately led to bands like The Eagles”.

“At the time of Nashville Skyline, both sides of the Atlantic were moving at a feverish pace adding new chords and experimenting with different instrumentation. ‘Lay Lady Lay’ had pedal steel on the track, but somehow it wasn’t used in most of the country records of the day where it cried mournfully to ‘daddy went to gaol and mummy got killed on a railway track!’ It sang in the mix and was right. Only three years earlier the three chord song was still ‘top of the Wazza’ – now your average long haired hippy has to learn minors, major sevenths and F#m. Three chord songs became 23 chord songs!”

Bob Dylan’s Brilliance at The Newport Record Club

The-Newport-Record-Club-Toward-Music

“Nashville Skyline will be presented kinda close to original with same key signs and similar instrumentation. The second half will have some early Dylan classics and some well chosen tracks from the ‘hippy’ era. There will be some blues played by these ‘all international’ bunch of blokes and the night will just be half a dozen guys with a bucket load of experience playing with the passion we have always had!”.

I feel really great to be part of The Newport Record Club. I’ve been watching from the wings and I am always excited when an initiative like this takes off in Perth. Having been a part of the scene for over 40 years, I’m proud that out humble Perth Blues Club will celebrate 25 years next year too, and I believe the Record Club has got ‘long legs’ and will become a very important part of this unique Perth musical fabric”. 

Season 4 of The Newport Record Club has so many quality albums and artists and it’s only just began! Make sure you stay tuned on the Toward Music blog for what you can expect each week and follow The Newport Record Club on Facebook for all the latest updates.

Follow Jayde Walker (Ferguson):

Music Journalist + Senior Content Writer

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