Bob Dylan Song Contest Winner Announced: Rod Abernethy “Oxford Town”

Rod Abernethy’s blistering version of “Oxford Town” has been chosen as the winner of our Bob Dylan Song Contest. Abernethy turned the relatively obscure early Dylan song about racial injustice into a tour-de-force, complete with a focused vocal delivery, tight and percussive rhythm, fiery guitar licks and solid harmonica playing. Abernethy receives a copy of the new Legacy Recordings Bob Dylan – Travelin’ Thru Bootleg Series Vol. 15 3-CD set (featuring Johnny Cash) plus a Hohner Bob Dylan Signature harmonica and a Hohner Marine Band 1896 harmonica.

Grand Prize Winner: Rod Abernethy “Oxford Town”

We received many great interpretations of the Dylan catalog from submissions around the world (hello Australia, Japan, Italy, Czechoslovakia and Russia!): reggae versions, ukulele renditions, parodies and even dogs barking along. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” was the most popular choice to cover, many of which highlighted spot-on fingerpicking and dazzling guitar solos. The bar-band staple “All Along The Watchtower” and selections from the intimate “Blood On The Tracks” were also go-to song favorites.

Here are a few of our honorable mentions.

Megan Frisbie “Dark Eyes”

Frisbie delivers a unique and eerie rendition of this Empire Burlesque deep cut, set against a spooky black and white video backdrop. 

Dean Batstone “All Along The Watchtower”

In lesser hands, this song’s repetitive chord progression and verse-verse format can get boring pretty quickly. Batson holds the viewer’s attention with sweet guitar fills and a vocal style that echoes Sting.

Stone & Snow (Karen Bridges and Clint Thomson) “Mama You Been On My Mind”

Stone & Snow lovingly recreate the Dylan/Baez classic. Their rich vocal harmonies and warm vibe will leave you wanting to see more from this Illinois-based duo.

Chris Bosch “Oxford Town” 

Bosch stays close to the original Freewheelin’ version, with a direct, emotional vocal performance, accompanied by his fine fingerpicking and an alternate guitar tuning. 

Cynthia Brando “Things Have Changed”

Brando’s solid control throughout this fatalistic Dylan cut is a highlight and no easy task. Guitarist Ed Tree’s tasty riffs on the minor key progression accent Brando’s rich, deep voice and maintain the listener’s interest.

Andy & Renee & Hard Rain “Subterranean Homesick Blues”

Talk about fun! This live performance, filmed at the band’s annual Dylan tribute show, recaptures the circus-like craziness of mid-60’s Dylan performances, complete with a cue card thrower who’s having a grand ole time!

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