When Bob Dylan recorded Blood on the Tracks in New York in September 1974, it was a great album. But it was not the album now ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the ten best of all time. “When something’s not right, it’s wrong,” as Dylan puts it in “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”—and something about that original recording led him to a studio in his native Minnesota to re-record five songs, including “Idiot Wind” and “Tangled Up in Blue.” Six Minnesota musicians participated in that two-night recording session at Sound 80, bringing their unique sound to some of Dylan’s best-known songs—only to have their names left off the album and their contribution unacknowledged for more than forty years. This book tells the story of those two nights in Minneapolis, introduces the musicians who gave the album so much of its ultimate form and sound, and describes their decades-long fight for recognition.
Blood in the Tracks takes readers behind the scenes with these “mystery” Minnesota musicians: twenty-one-year-old mandolin virtuoso Peter Ostroushko; drummer Bill Berg and bass player Billy Peterson, the house rhythm section at Sound 80; progressive rock keyboardist Gregg Inhofer; guitarist Chris Weber, who owned The Podium guitar shop in Dinkytown; and Kevin Odegard, whose own career as a singer-songwriter had paralleled Dylan’s until he had to take a job as a railroad brakeman to make ends meet. Through in-depth interviews and assiduous research, Paul Metsa and Rick Shefchik trace the twists of fate that brought these musicians together and then set them on different paths in its wake: their musical experiences leading up to the December 1974 recording session, the divergent careers that followed, and the painstaking work required to finally obtain the official credit that they were due.
Rick Shefchik is an American novelist, nonfiction writer, and journalist. He is the author of the novels Amen Corner, published in 2007, Green Monster, published August 1, 2008 by Poisoned Pen Press, Frozen Tundra, published in 2010 by North Star Press and Rather See You Dead, e-published in 2011. 2012 saw the release of his first book of nonfiction, From Fields to Fairways: Classic Golf Clubs of Minnesota (University of Minnesota Press). In 2015, he released Everybody’s Heard About the Bird: The True Story of 1960s Rock ‘n’ Roll in Minnesota (University of Minnesota Press). In October 2021, he announced on Facebook that he was collaborating with musician Paul Metsa on a work of historical nonfiction centered on the Minnesota musicians who played on Bob Dylan’s 1975 album Blood on the Tracks, for release in 2022 by the U of M Press.
Paul Metsa is a legendary musician and songwriter from Minnesota. Born on the Iron Range, he has been based in Minneapolis since 1978. He has received seven Minnesota Music Awards and has played more than five thousand gigs, including forays to Iceland and Siberia. He lives in Northeast Minneapolis with his faithful dog, Blackie; a dozen or so guitars; twenty-five orange crates of LPs; hundreds of books, compact discs, magazines, and vintage postcards; and several kitchen cupboards full of old cassettes. He is the longtime host of the Wall of Power Radio Hour, Saturday nights at 6 PM on AM950.