Channeling Bob Dylan

Reine Johansson started playing guitar when he was 11 years old. As he grew, up he became involved in various bands playing various genres of music including hard rock and blues through his mid-20s. He quit the music business for a while to become an actor and do musical theater.

A few years ago he picked up his guitar again and dove into the great Swedish song book for his day job as a recreational director, and playing music for mostly elderly folks in Sweden. Then he formed his band, Vargen (translates as The Wolf), to do his own music.

Reine says that his personal style is more Americana, country rock. “When I was younger I like the distortion pedal more,” he laughed. “But I calmed down with the years, and went back to the music that I remembered from when I was a child. I listened to a lot of Credence, and Beatles, and Rolling Stones and that all came back to me in the way I write songs and perform now,” he said. “And the songs of Bob Dylan really suite me as an artist.”

To develop my own lyric writing, Reine sat down with the intention to do a masters study to understand what Dylan does as an artist to make his music so good. “I started to translate the songs as a form of training myself,” he recalled. “It went very easy and it was real obvious that it could be sung in Swedish and still sound good. The lyrics were real close and still worked in the translation.”

Reine reached out to Bob Dylan seeking permission to officially record some of the tracks – and much to his surprise, he said yes. On his new album, “Tänk Inte Efter – Bob Dylan på svenska” (Don’t Think Twice – Bob Dylan in Swedish), Reine covers eight classic Dylan tunes including “Knocking On Heaven’s Door,” backed by a full band and on half of the songs he shares the vocals with fellow translator Mia Rosengren.

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