Happy Birthday, Bob! 8th annual Dylan bash returns to Old Town Center for the Arts

You're invited to a special birthday concert.

Bob Dylan turns 72 on May 24 and he'll be celebrated in song at the 8th Annual Bob Dylan Birthday Concerts on Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25, both at 7 p.m., at the Old Town Center for the Arts in Cottonwood.

The concerts are sponsored by Best Western Cottonwood Inn.

"This has become a tradition and a very popular event for the Verde Valley and Sedona," said William Eaton, co-director at Old Town Center for the Arts. "It will be a great Memorial Day weekend attraction for locals and visitors, with some fun surprises this year."

Bob Dylan is still going strong -- touring continuously around the world as well as writing and recording new songs. His newest album - Tempest -- will be prominently featured in the two shows at the Old Town Center for the Arts.

"It's hard to believe that I've been putting on this tribute to Bob Dylan for eight years now," said Joe Neri, the show's producer and co-owner of The Well Red Coyote bookstore. "And this will be our fifth year at the Old Town Center for the Arts. We expanded to two shows last year and we're going to do it again this year - Bob's a pretty popular guy!"

This year's program once again features some of the best musicians in the area, most veterans of previous Dylan shows and some newbies, too. In all, 21 musicians will perform Dylan songs for the two shows. Some songs are faithful to Dylan's recorded arrangements while others have creative interpretations of other well known artists or from the performers themselves.

What started out in 2006 as a small acoustic show in The Well Red Coyote bookstore to commemorate Bob Dylan's birthday, officially on May 24, became enormously popular and quickly outgrew the bookstore venue. Beginning in 2009, Neri and Eaton have collaborated to bring the show to the Old Town Center for the Arts.

"The venue is perfect for this kind of show - large enough for us to have a big and enthusiastic audience, and small enough to be intimate and personal," Neri says. "And, you don't want to miss our opening song - it's going to be awesome. We've made some changes this year to keep it all fresh and entertaining."

Neri and the Mystery Tramps, his backing band for the Dylan shows, will be joined by Alexander, Tyler Barrett, Rick Cyge, William Eaton, Dan Engler, Gary Every, Lance Garrett, Gregg Gould, Pat Jacobson, Shondra Jepperson, Vyktoria Pratt Keating, Wing Ryan, Chris Seymour, Gary Simpkins, Lynn Trombetta and Don Whitcher.

The Mystery Tramps consist of Joe Neri (guitar), Dan Bresnan (guitar, keyboard), J.J. Corcoran (harmonica), Hutch Hutchinson (bass) and Robert Church (drums).

Don't miss this opportunity to take part in this nostalgic tradition at Old Town Center for the Arts, located at 5th Street & Main in Old Town Cottonwood.

Tickets for either of the Bob Dylan Birthday Concerts are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and $20 priority. Tickets are available online at showtix4u.com. Tickets are also available in Cottonwood at: Orion Flour Garden Café and Jerona Java Café and in Sedona at Crystal Magic.

For upcoming events, visit www.oldtowncenter.org.

For further information, contact Elena Bullard at 928-634-0940.

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