Bob Dylan Blowin’ Wind Into Brand New Set of Bagpipes
Look out, kid! Bob Dylan is "going bagpipe." Forty-six years after shocking the music world by "going electric" at the Newport Folk Festival, the 70-year-old icon has a new addition to his arsenal of instruments: the bagpipe.
During a recent tour stop in Glasgow, Scotland, Dylan sent an assistant to purchase a set of traditional RG Hardie pipes, along with a starter package that includes a practice chanter and the Highland Bagpipe Tutor Book One beginner's manual, plus the more advanced Book Two. "He's always wanted to learn," a spokesman for the city's National Piping Centre said. "It's a lovely sound when they are played well, and something to be appreciated."
Not surprisingly, Dylan didn't actually play the bagpipes during either of his two shows (Oct. 9 and Oct. 10) in Glasgow and the pipes didn't turn up at any of the concerts he's played since -- after all, it takes a while to learn how to play an instrument of such complexity, and years of smoking probably doesn't help his cause.
Dylan doesn't even play much guitar -- electric or acoustic -- in concert these days, favoring to stand behind a keyboard during live performances and letting his stellar guitar-playing sidemen, Stu Kimball and Charlie Sexton, handle most of the fancy fretwork. There's been a few dates on his current trek during which Dylan didn't even pick up the guitar once. But he still frequently plays harmonica, much to the enjoyment of fans.
The current leg of Dylan's so-called Never Ending Tour is scheduled through a three-night stand (Nov. 19-21) at the Hammersmith Apollo in London.