Bob Dylan made a surprise appearance at Farm Aid last night (September 23), marking the first time he’d appeared at the charity concert since he helped to conceive it.
The annual event was founded by Willie Nelson and has taken place since 1985 and raises money to support family farmers in the US. The idea came about when, during his performance at Live Aid to raise money to help support farmers during the Ethiopian famine, Dylan wondered whether a similar event could be worked on to support American farmers. Although Dylan was criticised for this, Nelson thought the idea had potential and worked with Neil Young and John Mellencamp to start Farm Aid.
Dylan performed at the first two iterations of Farm Aid in 1985 and 1986 alongside Young and Mellencamp. However, this year’s concert marked his return.
Dylan was joined by the Heartbreakers for a three-song set, which included his first performance of ‘Maggie’s Farm’ for 14 years as well as ‘Positively 4th Street’ and ‘Ballad Of A Thin Man’
The set was streamed in full on YouTube – you can check it out below.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Cash revealed that he had come up with the idea for a project during the COVID-19 pandemic that would have seen rappers form songs based on recently uncovered and unused lyrics from Bob Dylan.
Cash said the project would have been his own spin of the 2014 Bob Dylan-tribute record ‘Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes’, in which artists like Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, and Rhiannon Giddens recorded songs featuring unused Dylan lyrics.
Cash’s version of the project, which would have been called ‘The Attic MP3s’, ultimately never came to fruition, but would ideally have featured performances from Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Post Malone.
While the project never got released, Cash told said that some progress had been made as Dylan’s team green-lit Malone’s involvement in the record and that they had sent him lyrics to work with.
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