Rich Lerner

rich lerner

It is surprising how few artists have attempted entire albums of Bob Dylan covers. His repertoire of songs is enormous, and he has a proven track record for hits when his songs are taken and beefed up by rock bands. But not even the Byrds ever did an all-Dylan album, and one can only drool at the musical prospect had Jimi Hendrix done one.

Based out of Greensboro, NC, Rich Lerner is a folk rocker and something of a Dylan fanatic, having attended at least 50 of his idol's concerts. The fact that his catalog of CDs actually includes a Dylan tribute is no surprise. It is a worthy enterprise, and he deserves praise for taking on what is a pretty tough assignment after all.
Dylan is a songwriter whose lyrics are inextricably linked with his vocal style, which in turn was so esoteric that the songs themselves became a direct expression of his personality, the point of view and everything that goes with it. Roger McGuinn's avoidance of Dylan's vocal tone is admirable over the course of his career, yet it would probably be impossible to pull off over an entire album. Lerner doesn't even try, although his best Dylan performances are a cunning combination of a typical Dylan vocal and his own forceful and frankly more honest emotional settings. It is a shame that Lerner did not include "Masters of War," which he has performed live with great impact.

Listeners may have their own bias about Dylan's songwriting career, as there is a sense of ridiculous adventure to the lyrics from his golden years that is always missed in the later works, despite the terse understatement that Dylan developed as a more mature performer. "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" or "One Too Many Mornings" will be the favorites if older material is preferred. The band plays these songs very well, really digging into the wonderful chord progression on the former classic. As if Dylan was actually watching over the proceedings himself, the CD really comes to life when a particularly fine song structure or lyric takes hold. In these moments Lerner becomes linked to the same great creative stream that produced Dylan, and no longer just sounds like somebody doing a cover version at an open stage.

Timber and Steel

Timber and Steel

1988

Tangled Up In Blue

Trails and Bridges

Trails and Bridges

1995 - Dedicated to Bob and featuring covers of traditional songs that Bob himself has covered,  but only one Dylan composition.  Click title for full tracklist & details.

Long Time Gone

 

  • Lerner & The Groove, Rich - Cover Down

    Lerner & The Groove, Rich - Cover Down

    1. One Too Many Mornings
    2. Covenant Woman
    3. Simple Twist Of Fate
    4. Every Grain Of Sand
    5. She's Your Lover Now
    6. Love Minus Zero/ No Limit
    7. To Ramona
    8. Changing Of The Guards
    9. If You See Her, Say Hello
    10. Sara
    11. Forever Young
  • Lerner & The Groove, Rich - Napoleon In Rags

    Lerner & The Groove, Rich - Napoleon In Rags

    1. Absolutely Sweet Marie
    2. In The Garden
    3. When You Gonna Wake Up
    4. Gotta Serve Somebody
    5. Union Sundown
    6. Forever Young
    7. Slow Train
    8. Like A Rolling Stone
    9. When Night Comes Fallin' [From The Sky]
    10. Man Gave Names To All The Animals
    11. Señor
    12. Cat's In The Well

    Track 12 was recorded in June 1993 and is a bonus track as are 

    Track 13 Rockin' The Free World* (Neil Young)

    Track 14 Makin' Some Noise* (Tom Petty)

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