In 2006 Dion stripped down his sound for "Bronx in Blue," a recording of blues songs (mostly classics, though Dion wrote two that fit right in). Dion accompanied himself handsomely on guitar and has never sounded better. He performs the difficult task of making these songs utterly his own. Writing about the disc, Dion revealed the secret of his access to what Gram Parsons called the Cosmic American Music:
Some people think I grew up on Rock & Roll (not so). When I was a kid, there was no Rock & Roll. In the early Fifties late at night, I'd tune into some southern radio station that somehow reached the Bronx, listening to The Blues, Howling Wolf's How Many More Years, Jimmy Reed's Bright Lights, Big City.
After school, I'd run home to catch the last half hour of the "Don Larkin Country Show" comin' out of Newark, New Jersey. I was a Hank Williams junkie. For me, putting country and blues together, that's what I call Rock & Roll.
Black music, filtered through an Italian neighborhood, comes out with an attitude. Rock & Roll. Yo! The music on this CD was the undercurrent of every song I did: Runaround Sue, The Wanderer, even the foot stomping on Ruby Baby I got from John Lee Hooker's Walkin' Boogie.
Late last year Dion revisited the same territory with that certain attitude on "The Son of Skip James." Catching up with Dion's tour supporting "Bronx in Blue" a few days before Dion's birthday in 2006, reader Edward Van Bomel noted the highlight toward the end of the show:
Dion told the audience, "I recorded this song in 1968." In anticipation and appreciation of Dick Holler's "Abraham, Martin & John" the audience applause began...causing Dion to interrupt the audience and applause for the only time of the night: "I'd like to dedicate this song to the most wonderful, brave, heroic, outstanding military people protecting our country."