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Early Dylan Folk Show - Mimi and Rivers

Early Dylan Folk Show - Mimi and Rivers

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  • Fri 8 Aug ’14, 8:30pm – 12:00am


The Nirvara Lounge bar, 266 victoria st Hamilton, Waikato


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Door Charge plus cd 15$: $10.00

Rivers Edge Bio

“I’ve eaten, breathed, melted, swallowed, washed and sucked in Dylan’s records” - Chris Baigent (Rivers) who claims to be New Zealand’s biggest Dylan fan. The lead singer and songwriter for Rivers Edge, says he rightly earned this title after living in poverty for six months, in Cambridge UK, in order to dedicate himself entirely to studying Dylan’s discography.

During this pilgrimage, he simultaneously wrote all the songs for his second album, aptly named ‘Cambridge Town’ which has recently been released by Powertool Records. “I guess you could call this album my thesis on early Dylan”.

“I’d just stepped in from Cuba and had to endure a long and bitter British winter”. But, Rivers was kept inspired by Dylan’s humour during his own hard times. In ‘Talkin’ New York’, on his first self-titled album Dylan wrote

A lot of people don’t have much food on their table
But they got a lot of forks ’n’ knives
And they gotta cut somethin’

“I had a spoon. I just lived on soup. I lived on soup and humour” says Rivers. “I didn’t take the easy route and go through Dylan’s garbage for inspiration like others have; calling themselves ‘Dylanologists’. I’ve got no business with his rubbish. I did it hard. Now and then I took a break, but only to watch drunks hanging out across the road. One day, I turned up to the Cambridge folk festival. Some guy was upside down, swinging from a tree, playing ‘Blowing in the Wind’, and I thought, I’m gonna start writing what I see. Enough writing from closed doors! I rambled around old Cambridge town. The architecture, the cobbled streets, the university and all the poets and writers who’ve worked there, were all inspiring and it blew the poetry and songs wide open. I became a poet and was living the dream.”

It was writing about New Zealand while in England that was the most liberating for Rivers. “I could say whatever I wanted while I was away from home. It freed me up.” Back in New Zealand, Rivers had put on several shows with Chris Knox in the past, and cites him as one of his biggest New Zealand influences, along with David Kilgour, The Clean and Voom.

River’s first band Cactus Lounge was formed in 1997 and is known for rocking out Java Jive. Rivers played like there was no tomorrow on “gear that made his fingers bleed.” The iconic Ponsonby venue was opened by Chris Priestley, whose connection to the Auckland folk music scene goes back to the seventies. Rivers wrote “fresh sounding up-tempo pop songs, with funky riffs” in an attempt to satisfy the insatiable crowds that had gathered to hear the band every week. “Then we found ourselves in this kinda gay/lesbian folk scene and things started getting out of hand. It was time to move on down the line.”

Rivers painted Earwig Studio’s interior a ‘light purple’ in exchange for studio time to record ‘Head First’, his debut album. Some of the songs had the essence of those Java Jive days but Rivers, like Dylan, was also inspired by the melding together of rough and smooth elements in The Beatles very early 1960’s albums.

Like the musical lessons, Rivers learnt from the Beatles, he believes that all his work channelling Dylan led him to write an eclectic mix of songs. ‘Cambridge Town’ includes an obligatory protest song, ballads, and even a lament.

'Alt, pop, folk, rock’ is how River’s describes his sound and Cambridge Town, written, while “fired up on folk” is a concept album penned about the modern world, in the style of a past generation.

While others have never resurfaced after giving themselves over to Dylan, Rivers came back up when his UK visa ran out. "Dylan can really suck you in and if you’re not strong enough, he won’t let you go. I’m a fan and a critic of Dylan’s but I’m a musician in my own right and I’ve got my own journey to explore.”

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