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Something So Right

I Feel the Breath of a Storm

I first became aware of Girl from the North Country when I spotted the poster as I rode past the Old Vic one evening. A quick look at the website confirmed that it was indeed a musical based on the songs of Bob Dylan, so I rounded up my friend and fellow-fan Bec, and we saw it last night.

This, let us be clear, is not a feelgood musical. We paid dearly for all our jokes about "Mamma Mia! but with Dylan", I can tell you. It is, however, beautiful, intriguing and moving.

Set in a guesthouse in Duluth, Minnesota (I finally learned it's pronounced 'doo-LOOTH'), the story follows the various lost souls who live or board there through the events of Thanksgiving, 1934, with a bit of mystery and a whiff of the supernatural, in dialogue and song. And what songs, of course.

No greatest hits collection here, but a good spread of older and more recent tunes, familiar and obscure. The instrumentals were a cruel torment of oh-god-I-know-this-what-is-it?

My favourite was probably the bit where 'Hurricane' segued into 'All Along The Watchtower' and then into 'Idiot Wind'. 'I Want You' done as a tender duet broke my heart, then 'Forever Young' broke me altogether.

We had fun tying in songs with characters: a bible salesman to fit in 'Slow Train Coming', a boxer so we could have 'Hurricane'.

There were times when the plot felt a little disjointed, or as if it contained just one hard luck story too many. But the music, the music.

Here's 'Tight Connection To My Heart' as I had never heard it before:

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Comments

I like this better than the version on the original album. Dylan wrote some great songs in the 80s, then sort of let his producers muck them about.
I'm very fond of Empire Burlesque, disco beats and all, but the stage version is really lovely.