Born out of a love for the Grateful Dead songbook and the jam band culture, the inaugural Dead Ends Live thrilled fans of this broad musical canvas last spring, just as things were shifting to some sort of normalcy.
Organizers are thrilled to announce that guitarist and singer John Kadlecik, a prominent and critically acclaimed figure in the Grateful Dead extended family will be headlining the event with both solo and band performances at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel and MacDougall United Church which conveniently sit next to each other at the top of Bellamy Hill in downtown Edmonton on 101 street just south of Jasper Avenue.
“John was the founder of Dark Star Orchestra thirty years ago, arguably the finest interpreters of Grateful Dead music on the scene. He was tapped by Bob Weir and Phil Lesh to inject the Garcia vocal and guitar sound into their Further project and John continues to channel his appreciation of Jerry Garcia as a member of the JGB which is led by Garcia’s organ player Melvin Seals. We’re excited John said yes to coming to Canada and Dead Ends Live. This is only the third time John has played Canada and one of those shows was when Further played the Ottawa Bluesfest back in 2010,” says Dead Ends Live AD Peter North.
Returning for round two of Dead Ends Live are the two artists who proved to be galvanizing forces are multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven and singer-songwriter David Gans who has also been the host of the Grateful Dead Radio Hour for close to three decades.
“Joe and David loved playing with our hometown faves The McDades/McDeads last year and sitting in with some of the blues players in the ballroom. Joe left everyone who attended in awe of his abilities,” says North regarding the violinist, mandolinist, percussionist and music educator who spent much of his career playing in the David Grisman Quintet and recording a string of brilliant albums with Grisman and Jerry Garcia.
Gans chimed in with, “I had a great time at the first Dead Ends Live Festival! I met a bunch of great musicians, played two full sets with the amazing Joe Craven, and got to perform in a beautiful church in front of a very enthusiastic house.”
Dead Ends Live is also injecting a couple of new musical components into the 2023 event.
Violinist Shannon Johnson of The McDades will be leading The Terrapin String Quartet through a selection of Grateful Dead and Beatles tunes at MacDougall Church on Friday March 17 on a bill with Kadlecik.
Bluegrass is also a component that will surface at Dead Ends Live ’23. Critically acclaimed American guitarist, singer-songwriter Chris Jones will performing with his wife, Canadian bluegrass guitarist and singer Sally Jones, on Saturday March 18.
The duo will appear the Roots of the Grateful Dead session at MacDougall Saturday afternoon with an all-star cast that will touch upon everything from bluegrass to acoustic blues to New Orleans sounds.
Chris Jones is also a host on the popular Sirius XM show Bluegrass Junction.
“We are looking forward to sharing music that was an important part of the bluegrass and folk roots of the Grateful Dead. From songs like “Dark Hollow” to “Deep Elem Blues”, which draw connections between the Dead and musicians like Bill Monroe and Red Allen, we’ll honour the artists and sounds that both influenced us and captivated the imagination of Jerry Garcia in the 1960s and 70s,” says Jones who has won a number of International Bluegrass Association Awards including Song of the Year for his co-write of Fork In The Road as recorded by the Infamous Stringdusters. He and Sally will also be on the Saturday night bill at McDougall church before Craven & Gans.
Dead Ends Live will also present additional Saturday afternoon sessions in the Chateau Lacombe Ballroom and the best of our homegrown talent, which was a central to the 2022 event.
The McGowans, Edmonton’s best proponents of the Dead and classic jam band sounds are on board as are singer-songwriter John Hewitt, cellist Christine Hanson, drummer Sandro Dominelli, sax ace Dave Babcock and his bandmates, pianist Rooster Davis and the bass playing Harry Gregg.
“The Mbira Renaissance Band is also returning with a ballroom show featuring a number of special guests. This is a band with a big rhythmic heartbeat, that our Grateful Dead fans loved dancing to. Since they played the inaugural Dead Ends, Mbira knocked out crowds at the Newfoundland Folk Fest last summer,” added North.
Other artists playing Dead Ends Live are Tony D of MonkeyJunk, while Daniel Gervais and the incredible Calvin Vollrath will be part of a Fiddle Summit the afternoon of March 18. Percussionist Dwayne Hrynkiw, and spectacular African dancer Okama will also be putting in guest appearances at workshops and alongside Mbira.
The full Dead Ends Live schedule is available at deadendslive.com
Tickets are available through both EventBrite and Tix On The Square as well as Blackbyrd Myoozik.
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