Chris Smither on Bob Dylan: ‘Somebody has to stay on the outside’



Chris Smither has no problem with Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said the bluesy singer-songwriter in an interview with WBAI-FM “Morning Dew” co-hosts Don Grossinger and Bob O’Donnell. “And I think even more wonderful is the fact that they had a hard time getting ahold of him. And I think even more wonderful than that is that he refused to rearrange his schedule so that he could go to the acceptance (ceremony).

“It’s just perfect,” continued Smither, who has recorded Dylan songs such as “Visions of Johanna” and “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.” “It is so Bob Dylan, and it’s also true to … you know, there was a wonderful piece in the New York Times comparing him to Jean-Paul Sartre, the only other artist who … actually refused it, he wouldn’t take it. But I love the idea that there are artists in the world, and philosophers, and luminaries, who realize and take very seriously the idea that somebody has to stay on the outside, and cannot be co-opted by the establishment. And as wonderful an honor as the Nobel Prize might be, to some extent you’re being co-opted by the establishment that way. And so they refuse to do it.”

You can listen to the entire interview, below.

Smither is double billed with David Lindley at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. He also performs at Roy’s Hall in Blairstown, March 25 at 8 p.m., with Milton opening.

For more about him, visit

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