After 11 years, Bob Dylan revives ‘Theme Time Radio Hour’ for one episode

The whiskey-themed show posts online Friday, and in it the Nobel laureate recounts a tale from Boston’s history

Bob Dylan started his Heaven’s Door whiskey line in 2018.
Bob Dylan started his Heaven’s Door whiskey line in 2018.Handout/Heaven's Door Spirits, LLC

A few months after playing Lowell in late 2019, Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour ground to a halt (#because2020) leaving his Boston fans with Zimmy-shaped holes in their hearts.

Some solace: After an 11-year hiatus, Dylan has revived his “Theme Time Radio Hour” for one episode — and it includes a story about Boston.

Fans will recall Dylan’s XM radio show that ran some 100 episodes — each with a singular theme from “Dogs” to “Mothers” — from 2006-09.

He revived it this week for a one-off. Why? September is apparently Bourbon Heritage Month, and DJ Bob curated a whiskey-themed playlist. The 79-year-old rocker has a taste for whiskey, and started his own line, Heaven’s Door, in 2018.


The new episode posts to Dylan’s website and social sites on Friday. (It’s up now through Sunday on Sirius XM’s Deep Tracks.) As Dylan points out on the new show, a lot has changed since 2009:

“I’m not even sure if we should call it ‘Theme Time Radio Hour’ anymore. I mean, does anybody still have a radio? Some folks might even be listening on a smart toaster. I don’t know. ‘Theme Time Device Hour’ just doesn’t sound right.”

While the Nobel Prize winner/DJ admits his whiskey brand was the reason for getting “the gang back together” he adds, “I’m not gonna pull your coat too much about it.”

The new episode has the same feel as the old ones, in which Dylan might tell a whimsical story or joke, quote a book or poem, or share wild background tales or side stories, interspersed with his eclectic playlists. In this one, the music ranges from Tom Waits to Charlie Poole, and Dylan recounts a yarn about Boston’s Great Molasses Flood, with classic Dylan inflections:

“On Jan. 15, 1919, 2.5 million gallons of molasses ran through the streets of Boston’s North End when a tank that was being used in the manufacturing of rum exploded. People say ‘slow as molasses,’ but a 40-foot high wave of molasses flooded the Boston streets at an amazing 35 miles per hour. Leaving 21 people dead. Some people in that part of town swear they can smell molasses in their basements.”


Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twiiter @laurendaley1.