The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant has long extolled the virtues of Oklahoma and Tulsa as the center of the roots music universe. So let’s just say The Rant wasn’t shocked when Tulsa revealed that Bob Dylan’s personal archives would be arriving to live down the street from the Woody Guthrie Center. The New York Times tried to act all special that they received a sneak peek of the treasure, but that was just Tulsa throwing the East Coast a few crumbs to keep the Brooklyn hipsters from crying in their craft beer. There’s nothing worse that a tear-besotted beard.

Dylan made a pilgrimage to see Woody in 1961. Guthrie was suffering the ravages of Huntington’s disease at a psychiatric hospital in New Jersey. Always perceptive of the power of myth-making, Dylan played “Song for Woody” for Guthrie and created for himself the symbolic passing of the torch for folk music.

Bob Dylan has been the soul of American music for over fifty years now. But that soul has always been housed in the body of a trickster. Restless and all-consuming, Coyote Dylan moved from folk to rock to gospel to blues and everywhere in-between. That critics breathlessly try to dissect his utterance strike The Rant as laughable; everything outside the music remains a game for him.

But the music brooks no frivolity. The first glimpses of his archive reveal an artist constantly revising and honing his craft. Seemingly effortless art requires painstaking work.

The Rant won’t claim Dylan’s arrival here was inevitable, but Woody’s legacy makes it hard to imagine the journey ending anywhere else.

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