Jessica Rhaye released a music video yesterday that has brought to light a song by charming American folk singer Robert Zimmerman. ‘As I Went Out One Morning’ is the tale of a desperate plea from a slave, to the friend of her master. As Rhaye tells it, her recounting of the tale is given in a darker, more somber tone.
“I have been listening to Bob Dylan since forever,” says Rhaye. “My parents are big fans and always had him playing in the house on our stereo when I was growing up. I love how his music takes me back to when I was a young girl, free as a bird, no worries or cares in the world. I love how timeless his songs are, how poetic and rough and raw and beautiful and real they sound. His songs are stories and there is a Dylan song for everyone.”
The process towards this song all started this time last year. Local Saint John legend and open-mic master of ceremonies Brent Mason was hosting a tribute in honour of Dylan’s birthday. It’s a show that Mason has made a tradition of, running on some ten years now, in which he invites musicians to take part in performing Dylan songs.
As Rhaye tells it, last year came with an added challenge: all those performing has to choose a single Dylan album for themselves, and from that album perform three songs from it.
Rhaye had already settled on ‘I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine’ from Dylan’s 1976 album John Wesley Harding, so that lead to the only other tune Rhaye recognized: ‘I’ll be your baby tonight’. The third song came from her guitar player, Chris Braydon.
“It’s a new Dylan song to me. The more the guys and I perform the song, the more the story starts to shine for me. To me the song is a tragedy that takes place long ago when there was slavery, about a love affair that happens between a female slave who is the ‘property’ of Tom Paine, and a friend of Tom’s.”
The story is told from the perspective of Tom’s friend, and the love affair is brief. The two friend and woman exchange only a handful of words before Tom himself shows up to end the scene. One makes a pass, and the other makes a plea, and ultimately their courage fails them both.
Rhaye says to expect more videos coming soon, including ‘Song In Me’ the title track off from her new album, as well as ‘Time Will Only Heal Your Broken Heart’ with Matt Epp.