Bob Dylan made such an impression on the folk music world--and modern music in general--that critics and fans have been looking for an artist who would live up to his genius and legacy for decades now. Countless artists have been labeled "the next Bob Dylan" through the years, but if you're a Dylan fan looking for other artists you might enjoy, here's a quick list of comparisons.
Singer-songwriter Ben Kweller's music is hugely personal and intuitive. Over the course of his short career, he's gained the reputation of being a reliably great songwriter. Though his music leans more toward the country realm than anything Dylan's done, his daring topical tunes and love songs have earned him the comparison. (Purchase/Download "Different But the Same")
Since his turn as Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst has been likened to Bob Dylan for his deeply nuanced poetic lyrics, topical tunes and love songs. Now that he's recording under his natural name, the comparisons have only increased. His songs tell provocative stories about the human condition, and he's certainly one of the most gifted new-ish songwriters on the scene. (Purchase/Download "Milk Thistle")
Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy has frequently been likened to Bob Dylan, and the comparison is obvious. As a solo artist, Tweedy's songs are undeniably Dylanesque. The music he makes with Wilco is definitely influenced by some of Dylan's more folk-rock work, although there are a lot of other influences at work there too. (Purchase/Download "Crack a Smile")
John Prine has become one of the most highly respected, beloved singer-songwriters on the contemporary folk music scene, but somehow he remains less than a household name. He's a champion among songwriters but, despite being handed the "next Bob Dylan" phrase long ago, remains somewhat obscure among casual music fans. (Purchase/Download "Storm Window")
I don't know that I've seen any other critics compare Langhorne Slim to Bob Dylan, but the comparison was one of the first that came to my mind the first time I saw him live. He balances the influence of Dylan with that of a band like Violent Femmes, bringing together various styles of traditional Americana with a modern rock and roll spirit. (Purchase/Download "Diamonds and Gold")
Early in his career, Loudon Wainwright III was dubbed the next Bob Dylan. Although he hasn't gone on to achieve the same idol-like status, his music is still highly regarded and respected in the folk music community. He's also produced two highly talented and well-respected singer-songwriters in son Rufus and daughter Martha. Blending humor with topical songwriting, Wainwright remains one of contemporary folk music's finest songwriters. (Purchase/download "The End Has Begun")
Willy Mason may not yet be a household name, but his music definitely calls to mind the work of Bob Dylan. His songs are frequently thought-provoking narratives that tell the stories of everyday people overcoming any number of obstacles in their lives. Live, he's an excellent performer and has done quite a bit of touring as the opener for KT Tunstall. (Purchase/Download "Gotta Keep Movin")