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Sunday, May 03, 2009

"If indeed there ever was a door."

Not encouraging news for those hoping for a 4th season of Theme Time Radio Hour.

The current (cover date of May 14 2009) issue of Rolling Stone has a short blurb in their "In the News" section under the questioning lede "Dylan's Radio Show to End?" although the body copy makes it clear that TTRH has indeed ended, at least for the near-term.
After three years and 100 shows Bob Dylan's Sirius XM program may be leaving the airwaves. "I stopped doing those shows a while ago and then XM Radio was combined with another one," Dylan tells ROLLING STONE. "They want to renew. They'd like more shows. But I'm not so sure." On April 15th, Dylan aired the final episode of the third season with the theme of "goodbye" concluding with Woody Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good to Know Yuh." Siius XM declined to comment on the show.
Taking the report at face value, we have the interesting information that Mr. D. "stopped doing those shows a while ago," further evidence that the shows of "Season 3" were probably recorded during the same period that produced Season 2 and were split into the two seasons by Sirius XM. Dylan had probably fully wrapped up his part of TTRH in 2008, possibly early 2008, as he mentions the Sirius XM merger happening after the fact.

Given that from Mr. D.'s perspective he last did anything with TTRH over a year ago, it's probably why he sounds dismissive of the subject. Although published separately, it's evident that he was asked about the show during Doug Brinkley's interview published in the same issue. I'm pretty sure I can even pin-point when the question came up, towards the end of the published interview, when Brinkley mentions several "future projects" including "Brazil-inspired paintings"; a TV special; and some sort of orchestral release of Dylan's "timeless standards." If the probable end of TTRH is disappointing, as is no mention of The Hank Williams Project, the most heartening news is that Chronicles Volume 2 is in progress.

I'm of mixed emotions about Theme Time Radio Hour ending, if that door has closed forevermore. I'll miss it, but 100 shows is an accomplishment unto itself, and it's always better to go out with the audience wanting more. One of the things that struck me about the penultimate "Big Clearance Sale" episode was that it was refreshing to hear a show not constrained by a theme, or at least had a theme as loose as "Clarence." Maybe the "theme" theme has run out its string, and it's time to be driftin' along, as someone once said. Or maybe Our Host, mercurial personality that he is, will surprise us all and come up with a new variation of the show.

There's always the possibility that someone else with the chutzpah of Lee Abrams will pique Mr. D.'s interest, and then have the intelligence to stand aside and let him run with his ideas.

But whatever happens, it's been a good run. Thank you, Mr. D.

And Dreamtime? There are still a few TTRH articles left to write, maybe a podcast or two left to do. We're going through the 100 episodes of Theme Time Radio Hour, listening to them in order, finding gems that we missed the first time around. And we have a new project in the works that we hope to be telling you about real soon.

Stay tuned.



Adam Dean said...

Fred said: "someone else with the chutzpah of Lee Abrams will will pique Mr. D.'s interest"

I said: Paris in the the spring"

Dreamtime Fan said...


This is just a personal note to you.

Maybe your investigative reporting could dig up the truth behind a song that I've wondered about for a while? In regards to the Classic Rock Show, there is a lot of confusion as to who really wrote Chinese Rocks. I don't know if this peaks your interest at all, but I would love to know the truth behind it.

Just a thought.

Dreamtime Fan