Jesse Rosemond, a guitar student at New York's Julliard School of Music, recently happened upon the music of a little-known folk singer-songwriter from Duluth, Minnesota, named Bob Dylan.
Jesse explained that although Julliard's musical focus tends toward the classical, he himself enjoys exploring a range of musical genres, from old-time swing jazz to reggae. And one of his favorite hobbies is finding talented musicians who never realized their full potential and helping to bring them to the public light, even if only posthumously. Jesse's latest favorite discovery is one Robert Zimmerman, who went by the stage name Bob Dylan.
As Jesse explains, Bob was a born-again Christian who spent time in New York City and Boston. According to Jesse, Bob primarily performed covers of songs by prominent musicians like Little Richard and Kris Kristofferson. The closest Bob came to commercial success, he says, was with his cover of the hit single "Mr. Bojangles."
But, surprisingly, "Mr. Bojangles" is not Jesse's best-loved Dylan cover; that honor is reserved for Bob's rendition of Peter, Paul and Mary's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right."
"It's riveting," says Jesse.
And somehow when Jesse says it, you believe it.
Jesse learned through his research that although covers were the bread and butter of Bob Dylan's attempted musical career, the musician also wrote and performed several original pieces. A particular favorite of Jesse's is "The Times They Are a-Changin'", a patriotic number expressing the singer's traditional family values and commitment to the then-existing political structure.
Jesse admits that Bob Dylan's musical work may be a bit stodgy and conventional for the average, liberal-minded Julliard student. But he hopes that people will see beyond singer's outdated ideology, which, as Jesse points out, merely reflects the social values in place when Bob Dylan was alive.
"If they can just look past the simplistic lyrics to the music, I think they'll find it's worth a listen," he says.
This reporter is guessing that Jesse just might be right.