Along with literature he also discusses the influence of folk stories and songs, how he absorbed them until they became part of him.
“By listening to all the early folk artists and singing the songs yourself, you pick up the vernacular.” he says. “You internalize it. You sing it in the ragtime blues, work songs, Georgia sea shanties, Appalachian ballads and cowboy songs. You hear all the finer points, and you learn the details.” continuing, “I had all the vernacular down. I knew the rhetoric. None of it went over my head – the devices, the techniques, the secrets, the mysteries—and I knew all the deserted roads that it traveled on, too. I could make it all connect and move with the current of the day. When I started writing my own songs, the folk lingo was the only vocabulary that I knew, and I used it.”
If you’ve ever listened to Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour, this lecture has a similar tone to its delivery and similar fireside intimacy about it. Like that it has Dylan’s distinctive slow, drawn out voice rambling over a soft piano playing in the background. And it’s equally as insightful and engaging. Have a listen to it below.