Smith probes the songwriters' lives and work to reveal how two distinct, equally significant artists have learned from and contributed to an ongoing and important American musical tradition.
Exposing the depth of two major artists' philosophies, creative visions, stylistic tendencies, and contributions to their craft, this unprecedented comparative analysis synthesizes biographical material, critical interpretation, and selected exemplars of the writers' work. Smith reinterprets their work in a new and fascinating light, presenting Dylan as a songwriter of enigmatic wordplay and Springsteen as the melodramatic narrator of a specific community's life struggles.
Both songwriters have had unique responses to the celebrity singer/songwriter tradition begun by Woody Guthrie. Smith reveals the power of authorship and the creative drive necessary to negotiate an artistic vision through the complicated mechanisms of the world of commercial art. Both have discovered their own means of traveling this difficult terrain, and Smith probes their lives and work to reveal the myriad ways in which two distinct, equally significant artists have learned from and contributed to an ongoing and important American musical tradition.