At first called “Dylan’s God-Awful Gospel” by his most loyal fans, Bob Dylan’s Jesus Years are today regarded as among the best of his career. How did a Jewish folk singer from the Midwest come to Jesus? Finally, here is an insider’s view of Bob Dylan’s “Born Again” transformation, and its effect on his life and music.
In late 1978, Bob Dylan fell into the Arms of the Lord through the Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church. In his first-ever interview, Dylan’s Bible class teacher, Pastor Bill Dwyer, details Bob Dylan’s embrace of Jesus Christ and Christianity. Dylan then made three Gospel albums, winning a Grammy for Gotta Serve Somebody. However, Dylan’s radical new direction alienated fans and enraged critics as he preached apocalyptic messages from the Book of Revelation.
Director Joel Gilbert weaves the intimate story Inside Bob Dylan’s Jesus Years through revealing interviews, including legendary Slow Train Coming producer Jerry Wexler, background singer Regina McCrary, keyboardist Spooner Oldham, iconic San Francisco Chronicle rock reporter Joel Selvin, award-winning songwriter Al Kasha, Jews for Jesus pioneer Mitch Glaser, and Dylanologist AJ Weberman. Included are rare photos and exclusive live concert footage from 1978-1981, while Bob Dylan himself explains the impact of Jesus on his art and soul in a recently unearthed interview from 1981. Visits to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, the Vineyard Church, and the Fox Warfield Theatre all take us deep Inside Bob Dylan’s Jesus Years.
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