What Is Folk Music? Bob Dylan Redux

a reality of a more brilliant dimension.

I had already landed in an parallel universe, anyway, with more archaic principles and values; one where actions and virtues were old style and judgmental things came falling out on their heads. A culture with outlaw women, super thugs, demon lovers, and gospel truths…streets and valleys, rich peaty swamps, with landowners and oilmen, Stagger Lees, Pretty Pollys, and John Henrys—an invisible world that towered overhead with walls of gleaming corridors. It was all there and it was clear—ideal and God-fearing—but you had to go find it. It didn’t come served on a paper plate. Folk music was a reality of a more brilliant dimension. It exceeded all human understanding, and if it called out to you, you could disappear and be sucked into it. I felt right at home in this mythical realm made up not with individuals so much as archetypes, vividly drawn archetypes of humanity, metaphysical in shape, each rugged soul filled with natural knowing and inner wisdom. Each demanding a degree of respect. I could believe in the full spectrum of it and sing about it. It was so real, so more true to life than life itself. It was life magnified.

— Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One

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