Saturday, April 5, 2014

Stan Kipper, Workingman's Blues #2 and A Preview of a Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan

"Sometimes no one wants what we got, 
Sometimes you can't give it away."
~Bob Dylan, Workingman's Blues #2

As the May 17 Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan concert approaches, the list of confirmed musicians who will be on hand continues to expand and excite the promoters who have been working so hard to make this a night to remember. One of these musicians is Stan Kipper, drummer, vocalist and founder of the New Primitives. A Minneapolis musician who has also travelled to California for a spell with his band, Kipper is a long-time fan of Dylan's music, offering up Dylan covers without apology.

Like many musicians Kipper is a welcome addition to any band and in recent years has been performing with the Barbara Meyer Band. Meyer will also be in the midst of the stellar talent that has been assembled for this event.

Stan Kipper with the Barbara Meyer Band, making it happen.*
Here's a snapshot of Kipper from a recent email interview.

EN: How did you come to take an interest in a career in music and performing?

Stan Kipper: I have been playing music from a young age. It was and is a calling. I didn’t have much of a choice, music and performance picked me. I don’t take it for granted. There is a lot to live up

EN: Who have been your biggest inspirations?

SK: Inspirations.... California, Midwest rock and soul music.... Gypsy, Otis Redding.... Jimi, Taj Mahal, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor.

EN: How did you get connected to A Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan?

SK: Kevin Odegard, my great friend and wonderful songwriter, hooked me up. We were all going to be on Blood on the Tracks.... but at the time I was moving to Colorado. In came Bill Berg. So when the Blood reunion shows started Bill and I both played. It was like a full circle type of thing.

EN: Where are you from originally and now?

SK: I was born in Minneapolis, moved to California in January of 1969, lived in the north Los Angeles area of Tujunga, La Canada until 1990. I moved to Edina in 1990 where I live now.

EN: Any favorite Dylan songs that especially connect with you?

SK: Masters of War.... Highwater, Jokerman, Highway 61, Idiot Wind... The whole Rolling Thunder period. Blood on the Tracks is still one of my faves and not because we all were around when it went down. Actually there are too many faves to remember at this time....

Courtney Yamineh and James Loney jammin', Kipper on drums.
Yasmineh and Loney will be on hand in May.

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One of Kipper's faves is Workingman's Blues #2, cut six on Dylan's critically acclaimed 2006 release Modern Times. You can find a full range of interpretations of this song by various musicians on YouTube and elsewhere, testament to the song's connectivity to the raw nerve of our times. Kipper's version is the only one I've found that compares to the pathos Dylan delivers in his Modern Times recording.

The song opens with this lament:

There's an evenin' haze settlin' over the town
Starlight by the edge of the creek
The buyin' power of the proletariat's gone down
Money's gettin' shallow and weak
The place I love best is a sweet memory
It's a new path that we trod
They say low wages are a reality
If we want to compete abroad

My cruel weapons have been put on the shelf
Come sit down on my knee
You are dearer to me than myself
As you yourself can see
I'm listenin' to the steel rails hum
Got both eyes tight shut
Just sitting here trying to keep the hunger from
Creeping it's way into my gut

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

Take a few minutes to hear Stan Kipper deliver Workingman's Blues #2. You can see the full set of lyrics here for this song which Dylan has performed live 163 times since released.

And then get your tickets for A Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan, Duluth, Minn, at the Sacred Heart, a fund raiser for the Armory Arts and Music Center.

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*Photo Credit for Stan Kipper with Barbara Meyer Band: Donald Jay Olson

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