Acclaimed mandolinist and bandleader David Grisman is no stranger to Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. The storied folk and Americana venue has undoubtedly seen the likes of dozens of incarnations of Dawg music with countless shows. The crowd at the Freight is respectful yet boisterous, out of their seat yet out of the way, absorbed yet moveable.
On May 11th, Round Records will release its most ambitious project to date with the long-awaited Jerry Garcia boxed set Before The Dead. The project features a meticulously researched and curated compilation of recordings the iconic Grateful Dead founder made prior to forming the legendary band. Before The Dead includes never before heard performances, recordings that have never been commercially released and a small selection that have.
The felt moment of immediate experience has been lost. Perhaps we have given it away by not accessing it. Perhaps it was robbed by this mainstream media/cereal box religion/consumer culture. Music festivals help us drop out of the noisy centralized confines of the Matrix and fall into the magic of experience; to revel in the full richness of the moment. It is a domain of feeling, and at best it is a vector of love, light, good vibrations and community.
Last year in the early fall, Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California announced the impressive billing of Dawg Day Afternoon. Amongst exciting performances from bluegrass giants like Jerry Douglas and Del McCoury Band, David Grisman’s Sextet was featured as headliner. The event went smashingly. The talent was top notch, and the gorgeous Weill Hall at Green Music Center provided diverse experiences for patrons.
In 1976 the newly-formed David Grisman Quintet recorded the first album of dawg music, an acoustic blend of many styles and traditions. Now forty years later that music continues to evolve with this first recording of the David Grisman Sextet. Many faces, hearts and hands have changed but the musical vision is still intact — the Dawg's own music.