Jonny Walter and Company performing All Along the Watchtower marking the 50th anniversary of the release of the song.

Sometimes events just seem to popup unexpectedly. That certainly seems to have been the case last night at the Dare County Arts Council in Manteo as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the release of Bob Dylan’s iconic song, “All Along the Watchtower.”

This was a real treat—visual as well a musical.

Held at what was once the Dare County Court Room but is now a perfectly sized small performance venue, the evening was centered around the remarkable artwork of local artist Janet Stapleman. 

Stapleman had created individual work of art using cotton thread on canvas board to represent each of the lines of the song. “There must be some kind of way outta here…” had it’s own representation; “Said the joker to the thief…” another representation.

To introduce the exhibit, a remarkable team of local musicians came together to performa an evening of Dylan songs.

Doug Dino broke out a ukulele to perform “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright.” It gave the song a different feel, really bringing the lyrics into the foreground, so the classic breakup line, “You just kind of wasted my precious time…” is really heard.

Best performance of the night? That’s a tough one, but we’re going to go with Jonny Waters and a Huge Company performing “All Along the Watchtower.” Waters’ guitar work was clean and perfect for the song. Yes, it was electric, but he didn’t even try to mimic the Jimi Hendrix version, instead making his own. Coupled with the harmonies of Natalie Ebert’s vocals, it did stand out.

The band also performed one of the most interesting versions of the early Dylan Classic “Blowin’ in the Wind,” with Ebert leading into the song as a solo vocalist. 

Stapleman’s exhibit will be on display until January 15. Check it out. I wonderful.