How does one harden the masonry of a legend? The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, honored Donovan this year with an induction that’s more than well deserved, and as a result he’s emerged from the woodwork to begin touring again, with three festivals booked for the summer. Donovan has been called “the British Bob Dylan” among other things, but there’s far more to be said for the Scotch-born bard than simply “he and Dylan knew each other.” In case you’re unfamiliar, he’s the guy that wrote “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Mellow Yellow” and “Catch the Wind,” to name a minute selection.
Ohhh, that Donovan. Yeah, that Donovan.
“I’m kind of a bard from the old,” he says. “A lot of my work draws very strongly on the so-called Celtic roots where I come from. There’s a lot of lore and magic, and the tales we all grew up with; it all comes up in my music.”
After being honored with music’s highest recognition, Donovan decided it was time to “stretch his musical muscles,” and that, teamed with what appears to be nostalgia (and the memory that music once scored him a sandwich, a cup of tea and two girls), has led him back to Oregon. When asked, he only has thin recollections of our state, but it’s clear that he’s been here before and fits right in.
“I remember doing a concert over there,” he says, speaking excitedly from across the pond, “possibly at a university. Ken Kesey dropped by.”
Donovan will be stopping in to headline Faerieworlds, the explorative arts festival taking place July 27-29 in the meadows of Mount Pisgah, and he says he’s especially excited to share his love for what he calls “the Faery realm.” He’ll also be debuting a new show called “The Living Crystal Faery Realm,” with a band formed specifically for this event, in an attempt to spread the wealth of the fourth dimension.
“I come from Bohemia,” Donovan says. “Not the country — the state of mind. Faerieland is no different to where meditation takes you — a fourth level of consciousness. The Beatles and I brought this consciousness back from India, one that people needed in the Western World, and it’s about a place inside us that we can access. I suppose we could call it the spirit world, and we can only access it in altered states.”
Look, the legendary Donovan is somehow making it out to Eugene. And though it may be tough keeping track of all the groups you wanna see at this festival, it’s certainly recommended that you check him out. After all, it’s fucking Donovan, and he’s psyched to see his “Oregonian pals” again.
Donovan plays Sunday, July 29, at Faerieworlds Music and Arts Festival; for more info, go to faerieworlds.com