OUT NOW! – “BIRTHDAY CARDS FOR BOB DYLAN”
Read Craig’s thoughts on Bob Dylan and find out what inspired the project.
“At thirteen, I saved up and purchased my first combo cd / cassette player. With Bass boost(TM). And a remote control. dual casette. That’s right – the dawn of illegal file-sharing, and I was part of it.
I couldn’t afford to purchase any tapes or CD’s because I had spent all my money on the ‘stereo system’. Instead, I would ask for rides from my mom, dad or most often our grandma who lived in the basement, and head up to the Waterloo Public Library, and borrow music.
I felt like I was the richest – all these songs with crazy words and ideas that made my head feel full and my heart race. Some made me walk taller and feel like I wasn’t just the kid who got the green participation ribbons at school track and field, but I was part of something much bigger in the world.
I fell in love with Eddie Brickell and the New Bohemians and wondered how she could sing so fast on ‘Keep Coming Back’. Led Zeppelin, and Don Maclean and Neil Young came later in the borrowing frenzy. Graceland sounded like beautiful things breaking and coming back together. The Beetles were perfect and noisy and silly and confident, and I listened studiously for the easter eggs in the hissy tape song in-betweens.
Michelle Shocked and Tracy Chapman were both often returned late to WPL, and I remember with shame an accidental scratch on ‘Anchored Down In Anchorage’ that I hurriedly returned at the bottom of my pile, praying the librarian wouldn’t notice, revoking my borrowing privileges.
While many albums fluctuated, the constant – the one album that I took out again and again was Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits. I didn’t even realize it was his face in side profile, backlit for many years untill I saved up and bought the album, because the loaner copies just had photocopied covers.
The first song I ever performed was Times They Are A Changing, at a summer bible camp that I believed my parents selected more for its cost-effectiveness than any other factor. When I told them afterward about the 2 hour scripture study in the morning or chapel at night when there were kids speaking in tongues, other camps were recommended.
The lyrics to his song were written and recopied, harmonica carefully practiced, and the guitar out of tune, but I remember my heart in my throat and wondering at how strong and powerful words could be.
I had the same relationship with Bob Dylan’s songs that I think everyone does with a favourite artist – I tried to crack the code about what he was writing about, while sitting in the middle of their tangle and ache and joy. All his words were perfect, and he had all of them. AND it bothered my parents – “He Can’t Sing!” they said, dismissively, the same way they did when they saw me spending money on Cokes, the Dickie Dee ice cream trucks, Mad Magazines, or heaven forbid, Cracked. Wasted money!
In my heart, I loved the fact that it didn’t matter how he sang – all of the words and the jangle, harmonica clatter and the off beat meter word delivery and confidence meshed together. What i felt but couldn’t artciulate back then was that it showed me that you didn’t need to be perfect / schooled in order to be authentic, speak your truth and connect.
Don’t Think Twice was the song I first learned to finger pick to, beautiful and sad words all at once, and holds an awkward performance memory.
I was performing it at a high school talent show, hoping to sing directly to a young woman. Harmonic holder in place, I searched for her in the crowd. I was startled by the fact that both her parents were sitting with her, and promptly forgot every single word to the song. I remember my drama teacher’s advice, and to hum through a forgotten verse, and that the lyrics will come back to you the next time.
Unfortunately for both myself and the puzzled audience, five minutes of humming and guitar strumming later, some harmonica playing, none of the lyrics came back to me. Not one word. Nothing. It felt like a million years on stage not remembering, trying to not look at her parents, trying to see if she was watching me.
After those long five minutes, I fled the stage in my new birkenstocks, carefully picked wool socks, purple tie-dye shirt and army surplus jacket smuggled back in a cross-border march break buffalo, NY vacation haze, carrying my guitar without a case, and walked home in november’s mash of rain and snow, ashamed that I’d messed such beautiful words up.
All Along The Watchtower, Desolation Row, Blowing In The Wind, and Don’t Think Twice were on constant repeat, and my loyalties drifted – Sinead O’Connor and U2 and David Bowie and Queen and REM and Northern Pikes and Tragically Hip came to be as I worked new summer jobs and as minimum wage went up, and I looked for the same high of connecting with music for the. Masters of War came by way of Pearl Jam concert VHS boot leg that was passed around a bit later, and then I was hooked back into Dylan again, caught in the net of his words, the tangle of joy and ache and not minding one bit.
Arlo Guthrie said “Song-writing’s just kinda like catching fish–you sit there and pull them out as they go by–though I think Bob Dylan’s up stream from me somewhere.” Bob Dylan was born May 24th, 1941, and these are five recordings of Bob Dylan songs put out to celebrate his birthday. I hope you like them, and if you do, please share them. Most importantly, on May 24th, go back and listen to the Best Of Bob Dylan and all of his other catalogue on repeat, and think of him upstream, fishing all the good words and songs.”
“Birthday Cards for Bob Dylan” will be available for digital download and streaming on May 24th 2018. Purchase a digital copy here.
NEW SINGLE - "OKAY CUPID" OUT NOW!
“Okay Cupid” is the newest single by Craig Cardiff, available for digital download, and streaming on: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, etc. This will be Craig’s first release under label Antifragile Music. The release of this single marks new territory for Craig as it was recorded with limited production in a new home studio, compared to previous releases. Along with the single, Craig also released a remixed version of the song! Will this song make you fall in love? Give it a listen and find out!
NEWS – CRAIG CARDIFF & ANTIFRAGILE
We’re excited to announce that Craig Cardiff is now signed with Antifragile Music based out of New York, NY! You can read this short blurb on Antifragile and also visit their website for info on their roster, team, and future projects!
AntiFragile Music was originated in 2017. Tom Sarig, AntiFragile’s founder, is a music business veteran of over two decades who has played a central role nurturing and helping several important & acclaimed music artists achieve breakthrough success and sell millions of records, either as their manager or in a label/A&R capacity, and in genres ranging from electronic to rock, pop to hip hop. Prior to launching AntiFragile, Tom has run Esther Creative Group since 2004, an artist management company and brand consultancy which has managed the careers of artists such as Lou Reed, Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music, Violent Femmes, Rickie Lee Jones, CAKE, Jamie Lidell, Twin Atlantic, The Gaslight Anthem, Bebel Gilberto, Os Mutantes, She Wants Revenge, Brian Fallon, Against Me!, Blonde Redhead, Le Tigre, Prefuse 73 and many others. For the 11 years prior to starting Esther Creative Group, Tom served as a Grammy-winning Senior A&R executive at various major labels including Universal Records, Arista Records, MCA Records, A&M Records, and TVT Records. where Tom worked with acts including The Roots, Nine Inch Nails, Damien Rice, Erykah Badu, Blink-182, Gil Scott-Heron, Annie Lennox, Mos Def, Imogen Heap, Dj Shadow, Sarah McLachlan, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Ministry Sammy Hagar, The Specials, Autechre and so many others. Tom has also produced a number of feature films, having served as Film Producer for two acclaimed features, Red Shirley and Lou Reed’s “Berlin”, and Tom served as Producer for MTV’s annual television special on his Shortlist Music Prize .