William "Bucky" Baxter
Bucky Baxter

Years: 1992-1999 (first gig: March 18, 1992, Entertainment Center, Perth, Australia) (final gig: May 2, 1999, Olympiahalle, Munich, Germany)

Instruments: pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar, electric slide guitar, acoustic guitar, dobro, mandolin, organ

No other musician of the Never Ending Tour so altered Dylan's live sound and musical approach as Bucky Baxter.

By the early '90s, Dylan had regained his musical footing. As author Paul Williams put in his book "Watching the River Flow," Dylan had discovered a new "thin, wild mercury" music.

And at the heart of this was Baxter's musicianship. With his steel guitar and mandolin, Baxter gave the band a musical flexibility and a richer, deeper sound.

Consistenly, Baxter's parts -- on both steel guitar and mandolin -- would rest on top of the two guitar parts in each songs' arrangements. From another prespective, Baxter's playing was akin to the ethereal voice of the Band's Richard Manuel in their three-part vocal harmony.

On steel guitar, he also played many of the organ parts for Dylan's most popular songs

Sometimes subtle and haunting, other times teasing and entrancing, his playing gave the band a definitive country feel.

Baxter was also presented as a colorful character when Dylan introdcued him onstage. Baxter was often introduced as "the former mayor of Bluefield, West Virginia" or with other anecdotes.

After leaving the band in May 1999, Baxter released his long-rumored solo album, "Most Likely, No Problem."

Baxter also quickly hit the road again, this time with a rising star in the alt-country movement, Ryan Adams. While he again filled the multi-instrumentalist role in Adams' band, he was also his onstage foil.

Baxter recorded and wrote songs with Adams. Their work together is featured on Adams' albums, "Gold" and "Demolition."

Currently, Baxter is producing Cerys Matthews' new record. Matthews is a former member of British group Catalonia.

DISCOGRAPHY: Bob Dylan "Time Out of Mind," "Unplugged," Steve Earle "Guitar Town," "Exit 0," "Copperhead Road," "Shut Up and Die Like an Aviator," "The Hard Way," R.E.M. "Green," Joe Henry "Trampoline," Ryan Adams "Gold," "Demolition."

Bob's stage intros for Bucky Baxter: (more to come)

"On steel guitar tonight, Bucky Baxter. He's the former mayor of Bluefield West Virginia. I'm glad he's with me."

"On steel guitar tonight, Bucky Baxter. The other night in Reno, he shot a man just to watch him die."

"On steel guitar and mandolin, Bucky Baxter. He's been here awhile."