- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Bright Eyes boy genius Conor Oberst, at 24, has been heralded as “the next Bob Dylan” (as Bob Dylan was “the next Woody Guthrie”) since he was a teenager. He joins a long list of pretenders who’ve been anointed heirs to the artist who says he never asked to be the voice of a generation.

Donovan— Dismissed by cynics then and now as a cuddlier, flower powerier epigone of Mr. Zimmerman from Minnesota, this psychedelic Scottish bard was the first “next Dylan” — down to the springy hair. But as anyone who’s seen “Don’t Look Back” can attest, he sure had the original’s attention for a spell.

John Prine — Typically more literal and satirical in his lyrics than the more — slap us for using this word — mantic prototype, the Chicago folkster nevertheless had to wrestle with the “next D—” tag as he gained prominence in the late ‘60s.

Bruce Springsteen — He was discovered by John Hammond, the same Columbia Records scout who discovered Mr. Dylan, and sounded a lot like his obvious hero on early demos for the label. But the Boss found his own voice and became … the first Bruce Springsteen.

Steve Forbert — From the word go in 1978, this former truck driver and New York City scene-ster was a magnet for Dylan associations. He retreated to Nashville shortly thereafter and makes a modest living as an ex-“next Dylan.”

Jeff Buckley — The son of singer-songwriter Tim Buckley showed much promise on his 1994 album “Grace,” but died by drowning three years later — far too soon for us to find out if could have lived up to “next Dylan” billing.

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