Unpacking Bob Dylan’s The Philosophy of Modern Song: An evening with Singer-Songwriters Parker MacDonell & Keith Larsen

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 - 7:00pm
Gramercy Books
2424 East Main Street
Bexley, OH 43209

Join acclaimed singer songwriters Parker MacDonell and Keith Larsen as they unpack Bob Dylan’s extraordinary compilation of essays, The Philosophy of Modern Song, a collection of essays that offer Dylan’s extraordinary insight into the nature of popular music. This will be an evening of both story and song not to be missed, as MacDonell and Larsen discuss and perform songs from this collection. 

Registration is on Eventbrite, closing at 6:00 pm on the day of the event. The purchase of Dylan’s book waives the $10 admission fee.  KITTIE'S will stay open for attendees from 5 pm on, serving sweet and savory food items and beverages! Fellow music lovers can mingle and socialize before the event!

NATALIE’S MUSIC HALL and ZEPPELIN PRODUCTIONS are Gramercy’s Community Partners for this program.

The Philosophy of Modern Song is Bob Dylan’s first book of new writing since 2004’s Chronicles: Volume One—and since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. He began working on the book in 2010, writing more than sixty essays that focus on songs by other artists, spanning from Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello, and in between, ranging from Hank Williams to Nina Simone. Dylan analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal. These essays are written in Dylan’s unique prose: mysterious and mercurial, poignant and profound, and often laugh-out-loud funny. And while they are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition. Running throughout the book are nearly 150 carefully curated photos as well as a series of dream-like riffs that, taken together, resemble an epic poem and add to the work’s transcendence.

In 2020, with the release of his outstanding album Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan became the first artist to have an album hit the Billboard Top 40 in each decade since the 1960s. The Philosophy of Modern Song contains much of what he has learned about his craft in all those years, and like everything that Dylan does, it is a momentous artistic achievement. 

Parker MacDonell has been using his original songs, voice, and acoustic guitar to communicate with audiences for years.  A veteran of the Los Angeles club scene and college student unions across the United States, Parker has released four recordings: Miracle on Broad Street with Matt Munhall (2017), The Present Tense (2012), Looking For You (1985), and Home to the Heart (1983).  His two recent recordings are available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Keith Larsen was twice selected to the Songwriter’s Serenade, finishing as a finalist and semi-finalist.  His song “Hold On,” won the People’s Choice Award in the Nashville Songwriters Association International/Country Music Television songwriting competition. He recently headlined a solo concert at the prestigious Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Texas and has also appeared in the current season of Songs at the Center, a TV show that appears over 300 PBS stations.