Outtakes On Bob Dylan by Michael Gray Now on General Release

Outtakes On Bob Dylan by Michael Gray is now on general release and is available in all major outlets, with free shipping options.

Here are some order links:

Amazon | Waterstones | Book Depository (Free international shipping) |

Kindle Edition UK | US | CA | FR | DE | NL | ES | IT | AU | JP | MX | IN | BR |

The book was initially published in a collector’s numbered edition, five months ahead of general publication. Here are a selection of early readers’ responses to the book.

‘I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Reading it is like having the world’s largest box of chocolates to dip in to (but without the coffee creme one you dislike)… I read and read and read until I ran out of pages! It has deepened my appreciation of Bob Dylan. It is wonderful to experience that.’

‘An absorbing and characteristically provocative read. Staggering attention to textual and performance detail throughout.’

‘If you buy one book on Bob this year, buy this. It’s wonderful. Follow Michael Gray’s obsession (in the best sense of the word) from his student days to Rough And Rowdy Ways.’

‘Just finished reading Outtakes On Bob Dylan about two hours ago. I’ve enjoyed the book immensely. So many interesting articles and so well written. The writing really is a cut above the others. I particularly loved the article on Christmas In The Heart and the pieces on the 1978 concerts. And the final chapter is monumental: by far the best piece of writing yet on Rough And Rowdy Ways.’

‘A really cracking miscellany – honest, forthright and compelling. I enjoyed this immensely!’

‘I thought it was great. Best fun I’ve had reading a BD book for years. Many great pieces but I loved the Blood on the Tracks, 16 Years and Chelsea Hotel sections especially and the R&R Ways essay was terrific. Lots of acute observations, all of them anchored by MG’s various, sometimes hilarious, always well-described misgivings, distastes and scepticisms as to the whole Bob industry. I didn’t agree with everything (the Xmas album for one) but, in the end, it amounts to the best argued case for our ongoing pleasure, awe and respect. A huge boost to the author’s authority.’

‘Relaxing in the summerhouse with [Michael Gray’s Outtakes] and a few hours of blissful solitude dipping in and out of his great great tome of essays appreciating detail, honesty & knowledge. His love of Dylan’s artistry shines through but it’s real, raw and not sugar-coated.’

‘The book was a great pleasure. The writing was consistently fine and the various articles, in addition to being endlessly interesting and often very funny (the Stockholm account is hilarious), were always illuminating. I especially enjoyed the Isle of Wight, Chelsea Hotel, Minnesota footsteps pieces. The Rough and Rowdy Ways section is excellently done and full of interesting insights and information.’

‘I started with Chapter 1, then about Rough And Rowdy Ways and now reading chronologically. Ah, the bootlegs and what we knew about them – and always searching the real gems. There’s so much I’d like to talk about.’

[Re the R&RW essay: ‘The] measured and tempered enthusiasm is far more valuable than the ecstatic response the album seems to have had more generally. I enjoyed it so much. An astonishing compendium of fact and opinion, all managed with stylish flair, discriminating intelligence, and some wit and good humour. I’m grateful to have had the chance to think about this in response to [the] very fine piece. [Gray is], par excellence, the no bullshit Dylan critic.’

‘It’s so great (and so rare) to read serious writing about Dylan that isn’t academic or pedantic or obscurantist, or vapid and tabloidian, but writing that actually deals with and elucidates Dylan’s art. But that’s always been [Gray’s] m.o. and I have always appreciated [his] approach.’

‘After 11 months of people trying to talk about, write about, make sense of and capture the essence of Rough And Rowdy Ways, it unsurprisingly turns out that we’ve all just been waiting for Michael Gray’s book.’

‘Most critics get lost in the foothills and briars of Bob Dylan studies, entangled in the abrasive personality. Michael Gray is one of the only authors who have ascended the Everest of Dylan and written beautifully about the Shanghai La beyond. Brill to get an early copy of Outtakes.’

‘It’s very nice to be reacquainted with [Gray’s] way of approaching Dylan, particularly with regard to some of the more recent years.’

‘[Gray’s] long and astute appreciation of Rough and Rowdy Ways is worth the price of admission all on its own and is easily the most perceptive reading I’ve yet seen of this flawed yet fascinating album. What a pleasure still to be enjoying [his] ideas on new Dylan records in 2021!’

‘An essential addition to the Bob Dylan bookshelf and Michael Gray collection.’

‘Always a good day when a new Bob Dylan book from Michael Gray arrives. Respected, informed, writing.’

‘Very pleased to have the book. A scan through the contents was enough to move all other books to the back burner.’

‘I’m delighted by it. I immediately read the lovely preface and then jumped straight to the essay about Rough And Rowdy Ways. As always [Gray’s] writing is excellent and a very rich learning experience for me.’

‘I read the RARW chapter first. It’s the definitive word on that album. I look forward to reading it again.’

‘I’ve been snacking away at random bits of the book since it arrived and finding it deliciously interesting and fun.’

‘[I’m] halfway through and am glad to report that it’s a fascinating read, throwing out Dylan connections in all directions.’

‘Not the least of the pleasures that comes from having a substantial new album from Bob for the first time in so long is that it has prompted a wonderfully alert and sympathetic reading from [Gray]: I’m getting so much off of every page in the Rough And Rowdy Ways chapter in Outttakes.’

‘It’s been a while since the book hit my door, but since tonight it has been on my bedside table, facing me and whispering : read me, I’m yours. Never opened it until tonight, for too many reasons, but… I want to share this. I started from the introduction, but then I jumped to the last chapter on Rough And Rowdy Ways. That is really something… You must have this book.’

‘Enjoyed the book very much. The early parts of the book brought back memories of my own Dylan journey… Well worth the price, the postage, the wait and the Swedish VAT. Glad to see a serious in-depth review of the current album. I say current because there’s still so much to discover and digest.’

‘It’s a great book, not only because of Michael’s observations and critical analyses but especially because of being written in a wonderful, meticulous and witty language. (Which sets it apart from too many other books on Bob.)’

‘Well that’s my weekend reading sorted. Always a good day when a new Bob Dyaln book from Michael Gray arrives. Respected, informed writing.’

‘This is worth getting for Michael’s 60-page essay on Rough And Rowdy Ways alone – wonderful piece of writing which made me go back to the album and listen to it all over again. Lots of other gems too – highly recommended.’

‘Just got my copy and it’s a lovely looking book and what makes it intriguing is that these are Michael’s contemporary takes on Bob.’

‘Highly recommended! Even Michael’s asides are very much worth reading.’

Click here for more details on Outtakes On Bob Dylan.

Click here to see Route’s full list of Bob Dylan titles.

When Quiet Was the New Loud On General Release

When Quiet Was the New Loud trailer

Tom Clayton’s book When Quiet Was the New Loud: Celebrating the Acoustic Airwaves 1998-2003 is now on general release.

The New Acoustic Movement, a musical era that although happened relatively recently, is already being purposefully forgotten. Much of the erasing began with Alan McGee’s infamous damning response to Coldplay’s debut album Parachutes, which he described as ‘bedwetters’ music’. In the book, Tom Clayton points out that yes, the era was dominated by the headline, radio-friendly artists such as Coldplay, Travis, Dido and David Gray, but there was a much broader, unifying undercurrent from a range of more low-key, independent-minded artists that reflected, and captured the spirit of the times – the sense of unease at the turn of the millennium when we transitioned from one era to another. Kings of Convenience, Turin Brakes, Kathryn Williams and The Electric Soft Parade were finding their feet, and the great bellwether of English music scenes, Manchester, was in on the movement too, with Doves, Elbow and Badly Drawn Boy emerging there from the ruins of Britpop and Rave with a gentler, inclusive sound and attitude.

Through the prism of the music at the turn of the millennium, this is a book that looks at the birth of a millennial attitude, a transition from the brashness of the late twentieth-century, to a more considered, gentle outlook that emerged at the beginning of the twenty-first that was reflected in the music of the time.

With many of the albums featured in the book approaching their 20th anniversaries, now is a good time to reflect on what this music represented and how it fits into the broad sweep of British music history. And perhaps in our current turbulent climate, where so much of life is loud and cruel, this music may strike a chord again. Humility, compassion and patience aren’t words associated much with our culture or politics anymore, so perhaps the time has come for a bit of quiet.

‘Knocked out by When Quiet Was the New Loud. First book to put late 90s early 00s New Acoustic Movement and related bands in context. A very assured and passionate read that might just be the most quietly important music book of 2021 IMHO’ Patrick Wray

‘A charming and important reveal on the acoustic outsiders of the early noughties and beyond.’ Olly Knights, Turin Brakes


> Buy Direct From Route

By buying direct from Route, you are helping to support independent publishing. If you prefer other options, here’s some links to popular online bookstores.

Amazon | Book Depository | Waterstones

Kindle Edition UK | US | CA | FR | DE | NL | ES | IT | AU | JP | MX | IN | BR |

> Spotify playlist and list of featured albums
> Read a feature by Tom Clayton in The Quietus

Outtakes On Bob Dylan – LAST CHANCE FOR NUMBERED EDITION


Outtakes On Bob Dylan: Selected Writings 1967-2021, the first new Michael Gray Bob Dylan book in fifteen years, is imminent and will be shipping from next week. As all Dylan fans know, a Bob Dylan bookshelf is incomplete without them. There is a once-only option of securing a special numbered first edition hardback at standard cover price. The deadline for orders for the numbered edition hardback is FRIDAY 30TH APRIL. Don’t you dare miss it. Click here to secure your copy.


Michael Gray wrote his first article on Bob Dylan for the counterculture magazine OZ in 1967 when its editor asked him to  ‘Do an F.R. Leavis on Bob Dylan’s songs.’ He’s been writing about those songs ever since. Alongside his groundbreaking Song & Dance Man trilogy and the massive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, Gray has been bringing his acuity to Dylan’s career for newspapers, magazines and journals from the 1960s to the present day.

Here we have eye-witness accounts of concerts: from a mercurial 1966 show in Liverpool through to bulletins from glorious, and not so glorious, shows on the Never-Ending Tour. Dylan’s blues roots are explored in train rides through Mississippi. On a trip to Hibbing, Gray gets to play the same piano in the same school hall where Dylan hammered out Little Richard numbers in the 1950s. Throughout, Gray turns his critical attention to Dylan’s work as it appears, from his immediate perceptive take on 1975’s Blood On The Tracks up to a new, extended essay on 2020’s Rough And Rowdy Ways.

Ever since the pioneering Song & Dance Man in 1972, Michael Gray has been the go-to critic for Dylan fans in search of serious analysis of this most elusive artist’s work. In Outtakes On Bob Dylan, we get Gray the man as well as a unique measure of Dylan’s long career as it unfolds, not in retrospect but in real time.

‘Gray’s passionate subjectivity mirrors his subject’s wholly idiosyncratic journey through life, as well as the complexities and contradictions that make Dylan who he is.’ Times Literary Supplement

‘Gray has read everything remotely related to the subject; he has also listened to everything, and with great care… alert to the fluidity of ideas and associations in Dylan’s art and microscopically attentive to his choice and delivery of words.’ The Guardian

‘I have always admired Gray’s reach, tone, and acuity.’ Greil Marcus

Be amongst the first to read Outtakes On Bob Dylan, and secure your numbered edition by ordering before 30th April deadline. Click here to order.

Some other Bob Dylan titles to add to your basket:

The Chameleon Poet: Bob Dylan’s Search For Self by John Bauldie
No One Else Could Play That Tune: The Making and Unmaking of Bob Dylan’s 1974 Masterpiece by Clinton Heylin
Trouble In Mind: Bob Dylan’s Gospel Years – What Really Happened by Clinton Heylin
JUDAS! From Forest Hills To The Free Trade Hall, A Historical View Of The Big Boo by Clinton Heylin

Outtakes On Bob Dylan

NEW TITLE: Outtakes On Bob Dylan: Selected Writings 1967-2021 by Michael Gray

Michael Gray wrote his first article on Bob Dylan for the counterculture magazine OZ in 1967 when its editor asked him to  ‘Do an F.R. Leavis on Bob Dylan’s songs.’ He’s been writing about those songs ever since. Alongside his groundbreaking Song & Dance Man trilogy and the massive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, Gray has been bringing his acuity to Dylan’s career for newspapers, magazines and journals from the 1960s to the present day.

Here we have eye-witness accounts of concerts: from a mercurial 1966 show in Liverpool through to bulletins from glorious, and not so glorious, shows on the Never-Ending Tour. Dylan’s blues roots are explored in train rides through Mississippi. On a trip to Hibbing, Gray gets to play the same piano in the same school hall where Dylan hammered out Little Richard numbers in the 1950s. Throughout, Gray turns his critical attention to Dylan’s work as it appears, from his immediate perceptive take on 1975’s Blood On The Tracks up to a new, extended essay on 2020’s Rough And Rowdy Ways.

Ever since the pioneering Song & Dance Man in 1972, Michael Gray has been the go-to critic for Dylan fans in search of serious analysis of this most elusive artist’s work. In Outtakes On Bob Dylan, we get Gray the man as well as a unique measure of Dylan’s long career as it unfolds, not in retrospect but in real time.

‘Gray’s passionate subjectivity mirrors his subject’s wholly idiosyncratic journey through life, as well as the complexities and contradictions that make Dylan who he is.’ Times Literary Supplement

‘Gray has read everything remotely related to the subject; he has also listened to everything, and with great care… alert to the fluidity of ideas and associations in Dylan’s art and microscopically attentive to his choice and delivery of words.’ The Guardian

‘I have always admired Gray’s reach, tone, and acuity.’ Greil Marcus

NUMBERED EDITION: All pre-orders taken before 30th April 2021 will receive an exclusive numbered first-edition hardback. Pre-orders will begin shipping in the first week of May 2021, in advance of official publication. Click here to pre-order your advance numbered copy.

When Quiet Was the New Loud

Celebrating the Acoustic Airwaves 1998-2003
By Tom Clayton

Post-Britpop. Pre-New Rock. The New Acoustic Movement.

The quiet music of 1998-2003 bridged the gap between two cultures, two generations and two centuries. As the nineties wound down and a new millennium approached, the UK began to look nostalgically to the past – and hesitantly to the future. The giants of Britpop had imploded, rave culture had started to chill out and a new wave of unassuming musicians suddenly found themselves in the spotlight. While Travis, Dido, Coldplay and David Gray may have shone the brightest, the likes of Kings of Convenience, Badly Drawn Boy and Turin Brakes also produced classic albums and won legions of fans.

Even though the New Acoustic Movement created some of the biggest hits of the century – earworms that still fill the airwaves today – it has been unfairly overlooked, too often dismissed as uncool or worse. Two decades on, When Quiet Was the New Loud finally puts the record straight and gives the acoustic era the recognition it deserves.

Tom Clayton’s affectionate look at the key records from the period – bestsellers and hidden gems alike – rediscovers the songs, personalities and stories of the time and reveals a moment when, albeit briefly, the meek really did inherit the earth.

‘An insightful, passionate and thoughtful telling of one music fan’s journey in sound that transcends volume.’ Colin MacIntyre, Mull Historical Society

‘A charming and important reveal on the acoustic outsiders of the early noughties and beyond.’ Olly Knights, Turin Brakes

‘An insight into the outer circles of British music which still resonate powerfully today.’ Kathryn Williams

PRE-ORDER: We will be shipping advance copies of the First Edition Hardback from mid-March, three months in advance of the official release in June. Be amongst the first to read it, click here to pre-order your advance copy.

Click here for Spotify playlist for the book, and a list of the albums featured.

New Title: The Chameleon Poet – Bob Dylan’s Search For Self

John Bauldie’s previously-unpublished work of forensic insight into Bob Dylan’s unique artistic journey.

On his untimely death at 47 years old in October 1996, not only did John Bauldie sit at the what could be called the high table of Dylan Studies, but from the early nineties, when he was invited by Dylan’s management to write the liner notes that accompanied the Bootleg Series Volume 1-3, many would attest that he was chairman of the board.

In his lifetime, John Bauldie was a giant amongst Bob Dylan fans and collectors. As the editor of The Telegraph, he was a voracious advocate for Dylan to be afforded the respect of a major artist and an early lobbyist for him to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Yet, despite creating the Wanted Man Study Series to encourage analysis of Dylan’s work, Bauldie never published his own full critical study, though regular subscribers to The Telegraph knew he had completed one. A few teasing extracts and a handful of mysterious mentions revealed the existence of this fabled manuscript, The Chameleon Poet, which has remained unpublished until now.

Covering the formative span of Dylan’s career from his emergence in the early sixties to his conversion to Christianity in the late seventies, The Chameleon Poet traces each step in the development of the artist and man from youth to maturity. With scholarly precision and vivid clarity, Bauldie’s analysis of Dylan’s work reveals a continuous journey.

Forty years on, as a Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan’s position as one of the great artists of the age is secure, fulfilling Bauldie’s vision. Now it is time to read the only full-length critical study by the foremost champion of Dylan’s art. The Chameleon Poet is a book of its time, but such is its focus on the inner journey of everyman, it’s as relevant today as it was yesterday, and will be tomorrow.

Bill Allison’s introduction sketches a portrait of Bauldie’s life and his ascendancy in the world of Dylan Studies.

‘I read The Chameleon Poet in 1981, and spent most of the rest of the decade trying to persuade John to publish it. Well, it only took forty years, but now you can read it, too.’ – Clinton Heylin


John Bauldie was raised in the northern English town of Bolton. Throughout the seventies, alongside his work as a lecturer in English literature, he was an avid collector of rare and unreleased Bob Dylan recordings. In the eighties, he established The Telegraph, a popular quarterly journal of Dylan studies, which he edited from 1981 until his tragic death in 1996. He was a staff writer at Q magazine and Mojo, edited several books, and wrote the liner notes for Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 box set, for which he received a Grammy nomination.

Bill Allison was a close friend of John Bauldie. They had a shared love of Bolton Wanderers and Bob Dylan, in that order. John often said that their lives were as intertwined as spaghetti. Bill wrote extensively for The Telegraph, and later for The Bridge. Bill lives near Blackpool with his wife, Julia, and their daughters, Lucy and Helen.


ADVANCE COPIES: We will be shipping advance copies of the First Edition Hardback of The Chameleon Poet in mid-January 2021. (The book won’t go on general release until May 2021). To be amongst the first to read it, click here to pre-order your copy.