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Critics praise ‘chatty’ Dylan’s satellite radio debut
Critics used to raspy mumblings from Bob Dylan are singing his praises after his debut as a host on satellite radio this week.
Dylan’s weekly one-hour show, Theme Time Radio Hour, features the 64-year-old music icon spinning an eclectic mix of his favourite tunes. Each episode revolves around a specific theme and Dylan offers commentary and information about his choices.
On Wednesday morning, his debut episode featured a weather theme and included a lineup that veered from Judy Garland singing Come Rain or Come Shine to Jimi Hendrix’s The Wind Cries Mary.
With most people used to a reclusive, mumbling Dylan, the show offered a real surprise: critics described the singer-songwriter as uncharacteristically chatty and engaging as a host.
“You can understand Dylan on radio better than you can in concert,” wrote Chicago Sun-Times reviewer Dave Hoekstra.
British musicologist Charlie Gillett described the show to the U.K.’s Observer newspaper as “seamless and natural” and said Dylan’s “growly commentary is charming.”
“It’s how radio should be,” Gillett said. “It draws you in and you never for a moment think he’s playing games, which he’s supposedly notorious for doing.”
The Telegraph’s Robert Sandall praised Dylan’s insightful commentary about the musical choices, which were shared “in his own uniquely insouciant and personally unrevealing fashion.”
Bloomberg called the episode a “promising premiere” and said Dylan’s “passion for old-time radio, combined with his reverence toward American musical traditions, make this just the kind of niche program that fee-based satellite radio is made for.”
Upcoming episodes will revolve around themes such as Mother’s Day, cars, police, dance and whisky. Special guests ñ including Elvis Costello, Sarah Silverman, Charlie Sheen and Jimmy Kimmel ñ will offer network IDs and other contributions.
Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour airs in Canada and the U.S. on XM Satellite Radio.