• Reviews of Elana with Bob Dylan’s band Spring 2005

    March 11th, 2005 at 5:59pm

    “This might be one of the finest touring bands Dylan’s ever had. The dominant instrumental voice is fiddler Elana [James], who gives the proceedings a folksy authenticity without compromising the band’s rock edge in the slightest.”

    Dave Tianen
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
    April 10, 2005

    “Fiddler Elana [James] is a welcome addition to [Dylan’s] rootsy roar.”

    Ben Wener
    Orange County Register
    March 23, 2005

    “The fiddle, in particular, helped make this show so special. Elana [James], of Austin’s great Hot Club of Cowtown…has juiced up the songwriter’s sound with her own expertise in hot jazz and Western swing. Plus, she’s such a dynamic and charismatic presence that she automatically draws the crowd’s attention… Dylan sounded superb on a revitalized rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Accompanied by [James] perfectly forlorn fiddle, the singer cuddled up to the somber mood and delivered the most heartfelt music of the night.”

    Jim Harrington
    Oakland Tribune
    March 18, 2005

    “Dylan, as usual, was all about change…The biggest change is that fiddler Elana [James], formerly of Texas’s Hot Club of Cowtown, is at center stage, fiddlin’ away as Bob stays on the sideline, blowing harmonica solos more frequently than in the past. James, who is, as they say, easy on the eyes, seems to have energized old coot Dylan.”

    Don Miller
    Santa Cruz Sentinel
    March 19, 2005

    “Dylan has a mostly new band that’s been taking center stage since his latest tour began two weeks ago in Seattle. In fact, Dylan planted himself behind an upright piano off to one side, only venturing to center stage a few times to boogie a little and direct the band…with fiddle player Elana [James] taking the spotlight at center stage. Formerly with the Austin, Texas-based Hot Club of Cowtown, her presence brings a vibrant energy to the lineup.”

    Elaine Anderson
    Reno Gazette Journal,
    March 21, 2005

    “Dylan has revamped his band, adding violin player Elana [James] from the Hot Club of Cowtown, and transformed several of his songs with western swing arrangements. James’ frequent solos…provided some of the evening’s most enjoyable moments.”

    Glenn Whipp
    Long Beach Press Telegram
    March 22, 2005


    “With a lineup that includes flashy Elana [James] on violin…Dylan and the six-piece unit roared with the fury of a locomotive, barreling down the tracks so fast that if you missed a note or a vocal line you’d be run over.”

    Robert Hilburn
    Los Angeles Times
    March 23, 2005

    “The latest edition of his backing band proved adept at roadhouse rocking, country-tinged maneuvers and blues stylings. Fiddler Elana [James] from Hot Club of Cowtown…[is a] welcome addition to the group, adding fine textures to lovely reworkings of “Just Like a Woman” and an especially delicate “Girl of the North Country.’”

    Darryl Morden
    Hollywood Reporter
    March 23, 2005

    “Even though Dylan, a big fan of the lovely hybrids in American music, has countrified his material before, his sound this time had a very specific foundation – the superb violin/fiddle of Elana [James] from the Hot Club of Cowtown…a classically trained violinist from Kansas who has also played on New York subway platforms.”

    David Hinkley
    New York Daily News
    April 21, 2005

    “[Dylan’s] latest band… had a violinist, Elana [James], who was joined for keening, soaring twin-fiddle passages by Donnie Herron…With this band, Mr. Dylan’s indictments became both pitiless and exhilarating.”

    Jon Pareles
    New York Times
    April 19, 2005

    “[Dylan] left center stage to his new violinist, Elana [James], whose haunting bow work added real depth to the music.”

    Kurt Wanfried
    Oneida Dispatch
    April 21, 2005

    “…Center stage stands [Dylan’s] new violinist, Elana [James], who at first listen reminds one of Dylan’s 70s violinist Scarlet Rivera, but she soon sheds that comparison in favor of a broader style, one that encompasses flowing grace as well as sharp attacks of her bow.”

    LA Voice
    March 23, 2005


    “[Dylan] spent the entire show behind a keyboard, hunched over like a vulture to reach the low-flying microphone…The focal point on the stage was violinist Elana[James], who added a pleasing texture to the honky-tonk-flavored set.”

    “Dylan closed strong with a Hendrix-style rendition of ‘All Along the Watchtower,’ during which [James’] fiddle channeled the spirit of Jimi’s guitar. This final number eclipsed the rest of the [night’s] performance, pumping new life into a great old song.”

    Geoff Schumacher
    Las Vegas City Life
    March 25, 2005

    “Though Don Herron’s pedal steel was a nice touch, the true star of the show was violinist Elana [James], whose country-fried fiddling could have found her a spot in [Merle] Haggard’s tight-as-a-snare-drum band.”

    Elizabeth Sinclair-Smith
    Skyline View
    April 4, 2005

    “Fiddler Elana [James], from Texas’s Hot Club of Cowtown, brought a touch of feminine grace to the passel of boys dressed up in gray suits and black shirts that Conway Twitty’s band must have thrown away.”

    Joel Selvin
    San Francisco Chronicle
    March 16, 2005

    “Dylan’s new six-piece band is flavored by driving Western swing persuasion from Elana [James], whom Dylan hired from the Hot Club of Cowtown…Dylan had the idea to apply a spiraling Roy Head ‘Treat Her Right” riff to “Cat’s in the Well,” and, feeling frisky a few minutes later, he teamed up with [James] for a sultry cocktail version of ‘If Dogs Run Free.”

    Dave Hoekstra
    Chicago Sun-Times
    April 4, 2004

    “Dylan’s longing to be a sideman in his ow n band is interesting. He sets up off to the side of the stage and fills the void at the center with an unused microphone stand and the talented Hot Club of Cowtown fiddler Elana [James].”

    Donnie Moorehouse
    The Republican
    April 25, 2005

    “Three new bandmates –fiddler Elana [James] from Hot Club of Cowtown, BR549’s multi-instrumentalist Don Herron, and Texas blues guitarist Denny Freeman…[push] the ensemble away from bare-bones intimacy and toward a bigger, richer sound…Today’s edition has a ferocity not normally associated with Dylan.”

    Phil Gallo
    Daily Variety
    March 22, 2005

Upcoming Shows

05/19 4:00 PM
Elana James Wildflower Music Festival Galatyn Park Urban Center
Richardson, TX United States
Buy Tickets
06/09 9:00 AM
Elana James 28th Annual Montana Fiddle Camp Monarch, MT Buy Tickets
06/10 9:00 AM
Elana James 28th Annual Montana Fiddle Camp Monarch, MT Buy Tickets