by Rolf Säfström, Sweden
I have now listened, for more than a month, to the latest Bob Dylan Album, ”Rough and Rowdy Ways”. I’m thankful for being in the same historical time that Dylan gives us so much of his art.
Now I just want to share with you, one of the many thoughts I have about this beautiful album – and in fact simply about one of the songs, ”Mother of Muses”.
I have a theory about it, which I would like to present to you, along with the arguments supporting my point of view that the first spark of inspiration for the idea of writing the lyrics to this song, came to Bob Dylan in the afternoon of 1st April 2017!
I don’t know how long he worked with this song after that moment. But the more I listen to it, the more I am convinced that this is another masterpiece; one of the several he has ”painted”, so far.
He has put in so much of himself, and how thankful he is over the gift he is given, and his ability to be the artist he is.
So what is the source of my theory?
On a Saturday, 1st April 2017, Bob Dylan started his European Spring Tour.
The concert started at 8 pm, in Stockholm. I was there, with my youngest daughter Moa, and I had bought VIP tickets ( 2nd row) for us. I had a little hope that he would receive the Nobel medal on the scene, so I wanted to be there in the historical moment.
We took our seats, half an hour before the concert, filled with expectations.
Just then, a few minutes later, I recognized some well-known people took their places, some rows back, to the left above our seats. It was a handful members of The Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, Horace Engdahl and some more!
I became more excited and I decided to walk up to them and asked, “Has he received his medal already today?”
One representative of the Academy answered, very politely, “Well, this is not official yet, but yes he has!”
So the concert (my 18th since 1978) took place as normal, but that is not a part of this story.
Later the same year Sara Danius, secretary of the Swedish Academy, wrote a little book about Bob Dylan. (”Om Bob Dylan”, S Danius, Ad Libris 2017) and there she gives us an inside story, about Dylan receiving his Nobel medal, earlier the same day.
It was a small ceremony with just the Academy, Dylan and some of his nearest men. No press, journalists nor photographers. Dylan wanted it that way. Danius writes:
When he had the golden medal in his hand, he turned the backside up, looked at it for a long time and seemed amazed about the motive.
This is a picture of Dylan’s original medal, and it is of ”Mother of Muses, sing for me…”
The other picture is of my daughter, just outside the concert hall. As you know, there is no cameras allowed inside, which we all should respect.!
So that’s my theory, and the argument to prove it. I think it is a bit of the truth, but who knows? / Rolf Säfström, Sweden
Best wishes and may God be with You!
Footnote, from the Untold team. Here’s the setlist from the gig that Rolf attended
Things Have Changed
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Highway 61 Revisited
Beyond Here Lies Nothin’
Full Moon and Empty Arms
High Water (For Charley Patton)
Tangled Up in Blue
Pay in Blood
Standing in the Doorway
I Could Have Told You
Soon After Midnight
All or Nothing at All
Long and Wasted Years
Blowin’ in the Wind
Why Try to Change Me Now
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