The Dylan Project

It's the band that Bob deserves

Meet the Dylan Project

Steve Gibbons, Dave Pegg, Gerry Conway, PJ Wright and Phil Bond of the Dylan Project
Take four of Britain's most talented folk-rock musicians and a unique singer, add the repertoire of a genius, and you've got the recipe for a dream band.

The musicians in question are PJ Wright (slide and electric guitars, pedal steel) Gerry Conway (drums and percussion) Phil Bond (keys) Dave Pegg (bass) and the singer is Steve Gibbons. As The Dylan Project, they present an exhilarating tribute to the work of arguably the greatest postwar songwriter in the English language.

The Dylan Project's repertoire spans the whole of Dylan's oeuvre – everything from Highway 61 to Mississippi – and new material is frequently brought into the setlist. Whether you are a diehard Dylan fan or just enjoy great songs performed with flair and brio, The Dylan Project will take your breath away. Go and see them or buy one of the albums – you won't be disappointed.

All band photos on the site were taken by and Ian Burgess.

"Saw you for the first time in South Petherton tonight. What a night. YOU BLEW US AWAY. did not expect that! Best night ever. Thank you xxxxxx." Kate, Yeovil

"First time I have come across you guys and very much enjoyed the concert. Will look out for you again when local to Wiltshire. Having seen Dylan four times, one for each decade from the 70's it was a pleasure to hear his songs presented with such quality.." Andy Slade

"You were all brilliant the other night at the Junction in Cambridge and what you brought to Bob Dylan's work last week was the best. His songs have always benefitted from good re-workings and you did them proud. Especially brilliant versions of Not Dark Yet and Man in the Long Black Coat and Ballad of a Thin Man." Brin Hughes

"Saw the band last night. Loved it. You were on top form. As I said to Dave Pegg, you are the only band in the world who could play "Sweetheart Like You" at that speed without me reaching for a sub-machine gun. You get away with it, somehow. And the rest was just brilliant." Neil Roberts

News from the Dylan Project

Peggy Lee

No, not the famous singer but Dave Pegg and Leland (’Lee’) Sklar. Peggy caught up with the bass player for James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne and about a million other people at Cropredy this year. Leland had just finished a storming set with Judith Owen and the two swapped stories backstage before being photobombed by Alan Thomson and Rob Beattie.

Review: And all in one evening

…with Sally Barker, Vicki Genfan, Dave Pegg and Anthony John Clarke

Sally Barker’s voice ‘made Sir Tom Jones cry’. So what? At school, my voice made the music master cry. However, that’s where the similarity ends. When we saw Sally on Monday Night 15th September, I had to agree with Jones the voice, her singing was beautiful in the September Festival at St Ives Theatre but, first, special guest of the evening, Vicki Genfan.

To say Vicki plays guitar is to say USIA Bolt runs … true but a massive understatement. Vicki was voted ‘Guitar Player’ magazine’s ‘Guitar Superstar’ in 2008 playing her own composition, ‘Atomic Reshuffle’ which she played for us. Wow! When she was signing my CD, I counted her fingers: she has just the ten, so I don’t know how she does it. As we arrived, Vicki, with her attractively tuned guitar, was introducing her arrangement of ‘Norwegian Wood’ which displayed so many things you can do with an instrument that there might have been three or four people on stage. She gets tunes, chords and percussion from the one guitar and all complimenting the rich timbre of her voice.

Ms Genfan has easy going audience rapport between songs that moved effortlessly from the explosive power of ‘Atomic Reshuffle’ to the bluesy, evening Jazz of ‘Blow out that Flame’. She shared a wacky rapport with Sally Barker when performing John Denver’s ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ before Vicki left the stage as Glen Hughes (keyboards) and Ian Crabtree (guitar) joined Ms Barker, her voice and her guitar.

Sally Barker has done her time as a talented and productive singer songwriter and as a member of all­woman folk group, The Poozies. On Monday she displayed a wider range and a richer palette moving from the folky exuberance of ‘Maid in England’ to the soulful Jazz of ‘Elephants’ and the audience participation of ‘Favourite Dish’, running right into the BeeGees’ ‘To Love Somebody’. Ms Barker was excellent value with an eclectic performance that perfectly showcased her considerable talents. But we had to move on to…

… The Western Hotel, where Dave Pegg and Anthony John Clarke were about to resume their sparkling double act. Dave Pegg is becoming a bit of a fixture in St Ives (Fairport Convention, The Dylan Project and now this) and we like that a lot. He’s a true gentleman and decades at the top of his game have not turned his head. He also adds musical depth to any performance. Anthony John Clarke displays caustic wit and delivery honed in the harshness of Belfast during the troubles. He’s also a talented musician and songwriter but no clown. The intelligent wit in his performance offers sharp insight to our own idiosyncrasies and idiocies.

It isn’t just the stand­up that’s funny; Clarke has a talent for investing his songs with gentle wit, ‘Tuesday Night is always Karaoke’, but also, when he’s a mind, to be a true poet, as in ‘The Broken Years’, his poignant recollection of sadder times and ‘Gloria’. Much of his work is “bitter sweet”, the sweet and humorous softening the bitter: think Billy Connelly without shouting and with the reverence of Father Ted – I’ll look out for Sister Mary Joseph Ferguson when I’m next on the Emerald Isle!

So much happening and so little space to record it all: Dave and Anthony’s ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ closed another magical evening at St Ives September Festival.

- John Hancock
This review appeared in the St Ives Times & Echo

Lowden Village Hall

Take five of Britain’s leading folk rock performers and not only give them a project but name them after a project, and you end up with the perfect recipe for an evening’s superb music.

The Dylan Project gave more than two hours of great music on Saturday, from the works of one of the 20th century’s leading songwriters, a man so inspired by the works of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas that he changed his name from Zimmerman.

The musicians – lead singer and guitarist Steve Gibbons, Fairport Convention members Dave Pegg on bass and Gerry Conway on drums, P. J. Wright on electric lead guitar and Phil Bond on Hammond organ and assorted keyboards – took their sellout audience at Lowdham Village Hall on a journey covering just about all the great man’s works.

The songs included classics such as Subterranean Homesick Blues, Highway 61 and I Shall Be Released, alongside some of Dylan’s less well-known works, such as To Be Alone With You and It’s Not Dark Yet.

The lineup neatly side-stepped the notorious “Judas” moment at the Manchester Free Trade Hall by including both electric and electric-acoustic guitars, and gave the performance a great roundness of sound, making it a sort of musical equivalent of a Jack Kerouac novel.

The band had that unmistakable folky sound, with guitars that sparkle and shine to the extent of sounding almost, but not quite, too sharp. In the finale, Dave Pegg managed to turn a gentle reggae beat into a hornpipe, but if special mention should go to anyone then it must be to Leicester’s own P. J. Wright, who gave a rich and varied guitar show of a kind not often heard outside of a major stadium.

- Frank Chester

This review first appeared in the Newark Advertiser.

Thanks to our mate Ian Burgess who took some great pix of the Dylans at our gig at the Garage in Swansea recently.

Hare & Hounds - Thanks!

Saw the show last night. Excellent performance by all concerned! Introduced my wife to Dylan music and she thoroughly enjoyed the range of songs. Great to be part of a small fortunate gathering who witnessed a truly professional set of musicians.

Thanks for making a great night!!

- Des Green

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Dylan Project Gig List

Date Venue Box Office
20/11/2015 The Citadel, St Helens 01744 735436
27/11/2015 Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek 01538 385260
28/11/2015 The Mill Arts Centre,Banbury, Oxfordshire 01295 279002
29/11/2015 The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere 08445 040604
27/12/2015 The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham 0121 444 2081
18/12/2015 The Borderline, London Buy tickets here
19/12/2015 The David Hall, South Petherton 01460 240340
20/12/2015 The Convent, Stroud, Gloucester Buy tickets here

The Dylan Project Videos

The chaps have been busy again. With the Winter Tour only a few months away now, here are a couple of storming performances from the world's friendliest festival - Fairport's Cropredy Convention. Ladies and gentlemen, Rainy Day Women and Cold Irons Bound. Keep you going till the next gig!

After that we present a couple of videos filmed by Kevin Smith at the Mill Arts Centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire on the Dylan Project's winter tour, 2010 - Ballad of a Thin Man and Dark Eyes.

Who's Who in the Dylan Project

Steve Gibbons of the Dylan Project
Steve Gibbons of the Dylan Project

Steve Gibbons

Steve Gibbons first leapt to prominence as leader of The Uglys, a band at the forefront of Birmingham's 1960s music boom.

It was while The Uglys were playing a residency at a club in Germany that Steve first heard Bob Dylan: "The voice made me tingle, the song made me shiver, the moment is frozen," he recalls.

By 1970 the Uglys had disbanded, and Steve released a solo album, Short Stories. In 1972 he formed the Steve Gibbons Band. In 1975 the band released Any Road Up (the first of many Steve Gibbons Band albums) and went on to success in the album and singles charts.

The Steve Gibbons Band was invited to support The Who on European and world tours and Steve penned One Of The Boys for Roger Daltry. The band went through various line-up changes down the years but remained perennially popular, partly because Steve not only has one of the greatest rock voices in the UK but is also an inspired songwriter.

There is more to Steve than rock 'n' roll, however. For example, the trio he formed at the end of the 1990s innovatively uses fretless bass, guitars, accordion and piano to perform classic songs as well as his own material.
P J Wright of the Dylan Project
P J Wright of the Dylan Project

P. J. Wright

PJ Wright was born in Leicester. His musical influences are many, particularly American music of the fifties and sixties, although his career has spanned the radical London-based Entire Population of China, a time in California, backing big-name American "oldie" acts such as Bobby Vee and the Coasters and being a member of Ashley Hutchings' Morris On Band.

PJ has worked extensively as a session player: his rootsier credits include recordings with Chris While and Julie Matthews, Ashley Hutchings, David Hughes, Julie Felix, Christine Collister and recently Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts.

During the 1980s and 90s, PJ regularly recorded and toured as lead guitarist with the Steve Gibbons Band. Since 1999, he has been lead vocalist and guitarist with the five-piece folkrock band Little Johnny England as well as performing as a solo singer-songwriter. PJ released Hedge of Sound , his first solo album, in 2006 and has subsequently toured with Dave Pegg in the duo project "A Night Off With...". Currently touring with US folk-blues virtuoso Brooks Williams.
Gerry Conway of the Dylan Project
Gerry Conway of the Dylan Project

Gerry Conway

Gerry Conway got his first drumkit at the age of 11. By the time he left school, his vocation was clear and he went to work at EMI hoping for a chance to audition.

The chance came and Gerry found himself the drummer with The Jet Set, playing ska and soul. His next move was to blues legend Alexis Korner's band. After a year with Korner, Gerry joined Trevor Lucas in Eclection.

By the time Eclection folded in the early 1970s, Trevor's partner Sandy Denny had left Fairport Convention and Gerry was invited to join them in a newly-formed folkrock outfit, Fotheringhay. Though creative and greatly respected, the band was shortlived.

Next, Gerry played a studio session with Cat Stevens and was invited to join the band. After six years touring the world with Stevens, Gerry found himself back in London and in demand as a session man. However, in 1979 he went to live in the USA for a few years, working mainly with Jerry Donahue.

During the 1980s, Gerry returned to the UK and spent a year or so on the road with Jethro Tull. This was followed by a stint with Richard Thompson's band.

In 1985, Gerry joined Jacqui McShee's Pentangle and has been with the band ever since. He has also played drums and percussion for Fairport Convention and The Dylan Project since 1998.
Dave Pegg of the Dylan Project
Dave Pegg of the Dylan Project

Dave Pegg

Dave Pegg threw himself into Birmingham's vibrant 60s rock scene and soon found himself gigging most evenings with one or other of the city's young bands.

Dave heard that the Uglys was auditioning for a lead guitarist and went along. He didn't get the job but Steve Gibbons suggested he try his hand on bass guitarist and he has played the instrument ever since.

Dave joined the Ian Campbell Folk Group on double bass where he met fiddle maestro Dave Swarbrick. It was through Swarb that Peggy was introduced to Fairport Convention: little did he know the association would last over 35 years.

After founder-bassist Ashley Hutchings left Fairport in 1970, Dave took over on bass and backing vocals, a role he has fulfilled ever since. In fact, it was Peggy who kept the band together through the hassles and line-up changes of the 1970s.

By the 1980s, Dave had joined Jethro Tull as bass player. As if playing in two bands was not enough, he set up Woodworm Records to produce and market Fairport's albums.

Dave and his ex-wife Christine founded Cropredy Festival in 1980 and he has been a key organiser ever since. The event started as a small reunion concert and has now grown into a major festival.
Phil Bond of the Dylan Project
Phil Bond of the Dylan Project

Phil Bond

Phil Bond started playing in bands at school in Worcester where he was born in 1953. He played in a band called Near Springs in the 1970s where he met Ric Sanders. Shortly afterwards he moved to Birmingham playing in bands which played nothing but original music.

Bored with living on brown rice and baked beans he got a job in Del Shannon's backing band.Following this he moved to the Channel islands, then a spell in the Middle East, then sailed round the Caribbean. This was followed by some time in the US, thence Europe and Scandinavia.

After sleeping on many different sofas Phil has been back in Birmingham for the last 15 years. During his extended travels he was absorbing lots of different music, traditional forms, jazz and rock n roll. there's always been room for Dylan in his suitcase. Phil plays piano, organ, piano accordion, flute and guitar.
Don't be misled by the word 'tribute'. Although the phrase "tribute band" can mean a slavish facsimile or a big-name cash-in, The Dylan Project is far more than a mere copycat act. The members bring their own distinctive take on the music, Steve Gibbons interprets the lyrics with stylish individuality and, above all, respect for a master writer and performer shines through every word, every note. As Mojo's reviewer said: "The Dylan Project is a tribute in the best possible sense. Touching and deftly handled, it makes you marvel, once again, at the scope and majesty of this singular writer's work."

There is so much to relish in the Dylan Project. For a start there's the laconic and charismatic Steve Gibbons, sounding uncannily like Dylan while retaining his own inimitable vocal style. As well as Steve's homage to Dylan himself, the Project's musicians are equally fine interpreters of the virtuosity of The Band. There's PJ Wright's scintillating slide and haunting pedal steel; on the first studio album Simon Nicol adds compelling rhythm guitar and fine backing vocals; Dave Pegg bringing his beautifully subtle and powerful bass lines, and Gerry Conway holding the whole groove with a tour de force on drums and percussion. As a bonus on Dylan Project Live At Cropredy Festival (the second album) John 'Rabbit' Bundrick's keyboards commemorate the characteristic quality which Garth Hudson's organ brought to Dylan's mid-period, now provided live by Phil Bond's piano, organ and accordion work.

This musical cornucopia arose from an after-gig chat between Steve Gibbons and Dave Pegg when the conversation turned to Dylan. "One thing led to another," recalls Steve, "and Bob's your uncle –Peggy's offer of his services was just the spur I needed to do what I had long been considering, an album of Bob Dylan songs."

That album, The Dylan Project, was recorded at Woodworm's studio in Oxfordshire, produced by Peggy and released in 1998. As well as Steve, PJ, Peggy, Simon and Gerry, there are guest contributions from Chris Leslie, Ric Sanders, Maartin Allcock, Ben Bennion, and Mick Bullard.

But The Dylan Project is more than a studio ensemble. Since its inception, the band has been entertaining audiences with an electrifying stage show. As well as touring UK arts centres, concert halls and theatres, The Dylan Project has played in Europe and appeared at festivals large and small – including Cropredy of course.

Contact the Dylan Project

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