Feature Stories

Midlake's Eric Pulido Talks About Joining an All-Star Cast for Bob Dylan's Birthday

This week more than 30 musicians met in Nashville to honor Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday by performing at the 13th annual Dylan Fest. Among those musicians were Kesha, Kurt Vile, Emmylou Harris, Wynona Judd — and Denton’s own Eric Pulido.

Pulido has been a member of famed Denton band Midlake for 15 years, and has his hand in two local downtown establishments, Barley & Board and Paschall Bar.

“It's kind of a motley crew of folks that go to these things and honor the person who is being tributed,” Pulido says. “Obviously, when you're dealing with Dylan, you're dealing with all sorts of people who like him.”

Alex Levy, Austin Scaggs and Matt Romano started Dylan Fest in 2003. The New York-based trio of friends had a dream to bring people together to honor musicians they loved. The idea is to have folks play the songs of the musician being honored for one night, while also raising money for local causes. Aside from Dylan Fest, the group hosts Petty Fest, George Fest and Stones Fest.

In 2012, they gained a sponsorship deal with Jameson whiskey that now allows the Best Fest (the collective name for all the events) to travel the world and honor different musicians in different locations. The Best Fest recently started adding another day to each event, making each experience two nights of celebration. All of the money raised by ticket sales goes into the Jameson Neighborhood Fund that puts money into local charities.

Accompanied by Bijou Phillips and Danny Masterson, Pulido performed “Tangled Up in Blue” from Dylan's 1975 album, Blood on the Track. Pulido returned to participated in the group cover of “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” originally performed by Dylan and the Band on the 1975 release of The Basement Tapes, which closed out the concert.

“We did it both nights,” Pulido says. “When you get up for the group songs, you never know who's going to be right there next to you singing on a microphone. I didn’t know Wynonna Judd at all, who was right there next to me with shakers. John Paul White from the Civil Wars, Wynonna and I were all on the same mic.”

Pulido says that the experience is always fun. This wasn’t his first Fest experience, either. In fact, he has played Petty Fest and a Stones Fest before, too. “It's a cool thing to see huge artists hang out side stage and watch the show with everyone else, or jumping in and doing duets with people.”

Pulido got back Wednesday morning from the two-day festival that took place at the Ryman Auditorium. “For me, [being on] the lower part of the totem pole of all these artists, I’m just like pinching myself,” Pulido says. “It's so cool to be here. I'm honored to be apart of it, especially playing the Ryman Auditorium.”

Dylan was not in attendance, though. “I don’t know if anyone who’s been honored has ever come to the event,” Pulido admits.

Still, there is a strong family and community vibe within each performance. Danny Harrison, George Harrison’s son, has played at George Fest; Jakob Dylan has played an earlier Dylan Fest.

“It was really special, and cool to see that community artist vibe,” Pulido said. He’ll get to have another experience later this year when he travels to Europe for a Nick Drake Tribute. “I sometimes find myself in scenarios where I’m like 'I’m not supposed to be here, and I just hope no one figures it out,'” he jokes.