On Tuesday, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century officially becomes an old man.
Bob Dylan turns 70.
Every May 24 for the past 11 years, dozens of local singer-songwriters have gathered to play Dylan covers. The annual Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, this year at Rembrandt’s in the Fairmount neighborhood, is coordinated by Kenn Kweder.
Kweder has been an intrepid fixture of the local rock scene for decades, emerging from the punk scene in the late ’70s. His affinity for Dylan has never waned, but he says the 70-year milestone is hard to wrap his head around.
“He’s singed into my brain as eternally 27, or 26,” said Kweder. “When he came on the scene, it was like the Doppler Effect–he keeps coming at you, and the pitch just gets higher and higher. Now he’s moving on, but you can still hear him. The singeing of my neurons is permanent.”
This year, the birthday bash is the largest it has ever been. Forty-eight musicians will perform exactly one Dylan song each, with no repeats. Kweder will be performing “To Ramona.”
Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, had a knack for a poignant lyric:
Just do what you think you should do
And someday, maybe
Who knows, baby
I’ll come and be cryin’ to you.”