ALBUM: Heliotropism (2012)
It's no secret that "Bob Dylan", the 19-year-old folk singer who blew into Greenwich Village in 1961, was a persona fabricated from a swath of influences, most significant among them Woody Guthrie. In the same fashion, musician-activist Gio Andollo, who performs as GioSafari, modeled himself on that mythical Dylan, following his footsteps by moving to New York City to sing his songs of peace and Kingdom-ushering. His second EP, Protest Songs (Are Dead), is couched deep in Dylan's Freewheelin' and The Times They Are A-Changin' "protest singer" motif and even features an audio clip of the singer.
GioSafari's nod to Bob on his first full-length, Heliotropism, is much more bittersweet. Transposing Dylan's ode to his own idol, "Song For Woody" (itself a version of Guthrie's "1913 Massacre"), Gio turns it into a lament for Robert Zimmerman, the boy Dylan left to die back in in Duluth when he shucked off forever the family and the life he was born into. Instead of the hero-worship of "Song For Woody", Andollo's take is sad and affectionate, wishing Dylan well while acknowledging that their paths have split - Gio found Bob's footsteps impossible to follow, "The imprints more shallow each step ‘long the way/Twenty one grams you lost with each role that you played".
If you like "On The Road (Song For Robert)", be sure to check out GioSafari's upcoming tribute to another '60s icon, John Lennon. I Am The Walrus comes out next month.