Dear Dead Heads:
In 1964, Jerry Garcia and his buddy Sandy Rothman packed up a tape recorder and took off for the American South on a bluegrass pilgrimage. One of the groups they most wanted to see was “Jim and Jesse” (McReynolds), of Dothan, Alabama. They saw them, and they had a ball.
Jim and Jesse went on to legendary status in the bluegrass world with more than 45 years at the Grand Ol’ Opry, Grammys, and membership in any Hall of Fame that means anything to this music.
And the world spins round, and now Jesse (alas, Jim is no longer with us) has completed the circle with Jerry by recording a tribute to the Grateful Dead’s music, Songs of the Grateful Dead – A Tribute to Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. Superbly assisted by David Nelson, Stu Allen, and some incredible Nashville players, he’s cut 12 classic Dead songs, from Black Muddy River and Ripple to Franklin’s Tower and Standing on the Moon. And to top it off, there’s a brand-new McReynolds-Hunter tune called Day by Day.
It’s wonderful stuff. Jesse sounds like a Southern version of Jerry if he’d lived so long, and sings these songs like the master he is. His mandolin playing is fabulous, and the other players and singers are just right.
This is going to knock your socks off. Listen and you’ll agree.