This Album Changed My Life: Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home (1965)

Jack O’Flaherty of Carlow trio Exiles on Bob Dylan’s healing properties

Bob Dylan's music was an abiding presence in my home as I grew up thanks to my dad's devotion to Dylan's Desire – the only CD allowed in the car for several years. So, as much as I am convinced that I love Dylan's work, make up your own mind if that love is genuine or a Stockholm syndromic love letter to one's musical captor.

Desire got me hooked. I was a child enthralled with the tale of Rubin Hurricane Carter, the life and crimes of Joey and the hypnotic Isis. The album sustained me through endless car journeys as I felt travel sick all the way. Dylan's rasp, poetry, and storytelling were the soundtrack to my childhood, his intriguing voice so defiantly different. The songs evoked worlds for me. It made me think about how I told my stories, and how I could tell them better. I grew to appreciate the colours and moods and the craft in Dylan's catalogue, all delivered in that distinctive voice and with that characteristic defiance of what was accepted as "cool".

I encountered Bringing It All Back Home when I was going through a tough time; travel-sickness had given way to my first brush with love-sickness. It was in this album that I found solace as sombre days bled into melancholic nights. I learned a lot about hurting from It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) and I let myself grieve, but just a little bit, every time It's All Over Now Baby Blue rolled around.

This album is perfect. Pop in a pair of headphones and enjoy a good cry.


– In conversation with Niall Byrne

Exiles' new single, Rearview Mirror, is out now. The synth-pop duo play Whelan's in Dublin on Friday, February 22nd.