Back in his “Highway 61” days, Bob Dylan could have written “Searching for My Twin.”
But he didn’t. Dustin Lowman did.
The lyrics, voice, intonation, guitar, harmonica, rhythm — all evoke Dylan, when he played Greenwich Village coffeehouses in the early 1960s.
In 2012 Dustin does Main Street, right here in Westport.
But he’s not alone.
Longtime friend and fellow guitarist Danny Fishman, drummer/brother Devon Lowman and violinist/bassist/musical genius Sam Weiser join him, forming The Wayside.
Remember the name.
The folk-rock — really, folk-to-rock — group is tearing up the area.
They’re all over Facebook and YouTube, too.
It took more than 40 years for Dylan to do that.
The Wayside goes way back. Dustin and Danny were friends at age 7. They played on the same Little League team (the Huskies), but gave up baseball for music.
By 8th grade at Coleytown Middle School, Dustin was writing poetic lyrics — a nod to his musical hero, Dylan.
Dustin and Danny — he’s more of a John Mayer fan — went to the National Guitar Workshop together. Their playing and songwriting attracted attention from the likes of Livingston Taylor.
But the Wayside didn’t come together until a couple of years ago, when Devon and Sam joined. Sam’s crazy-good fiddle-style violin playing adds a special twist on folk-y, introspective-type numbers; he switches to bass for more rock-y stuff. Danny and Dustin write most of the material. The other 2 guys grab it, and make each song their own.
Their 1st gig was the 2010 EcoFest. Their tight, crisp, mature-beyond-their-years sound and clever lyrics drew immediate attention (and comparisons to not only Dylan and John Mayer, but the Avett Brothers and The Tallest Man on Earth).
In Dylan’s early days, the Wayside would have played local clubs, attracted attention from promoters, signed with a label, cut a 45, been heard on radio stations, hit the big time, gathered groupies and gone on from there.
But the music industry has changed. There are fewer venues, no 45s or radio stations. Groupies are looking for the next Mark Zuckerberg.
So the Wayside does things the new way. They play for free on places like Main Street. They make EPs. Their music is on ReverbNation. Their Facebook fan page draws plenty of attention. They’ve got a YouTube channel.
They’ve also got a manager — Staples grad Michael Mugrage (who toured with Orleans and Ronnie Spector, and worked with James Brown and Bruce Hornsby).
The Wayside not only plays smart; they are smart. Dustin is a rising sophomore at Middlebury College. After a year at Vassar, Danny is transferring to Tufts. Sam is entering his first year at the New England Conservatory, while Devon has one more year at Staples.
They’re not sure what’s ahead after college. But they love what they do; they love playing with each other. They’re heartened by their very enthusiastic fans (including Tommy Byrne, who made guitars for Steely Dan).
And check them out on a Main Street near you. It may not be Bleecker Street, but everyone starts somewhere.
(Click below for 3 Wayside YouTube videos.)