Jesse McReynolds & Friends

Jesse McReynolds & Friends

Jesse McReynolds & Friends

Songs of the Grateful Dead


I’m betting that if you had mentioned to Jesse McReynolds and his brother Jim back in 1947 that 50+ years hence Jesse would be recording a tribute album full of songs by a bunch of drug fiends and hippies you’d have earned yourself a rather sharp rebuke, if not a punch in the eye. But here it is, 2010 and one of the true masters of bluegrass mandolin, Jesse McReynolds, is picking sweet on a dozen Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter tunes, and they rarely have sounded as good.

McReynolds is credited with developing the “cross pick” style of mandolin playing, a more relaxed method than that of a Bill Monroe or David Grisman. He never sounds rushed, either vocally or instrumentally, and on numbers such as “Black Muddy River” or a weary, resigned “Loser” he gives the originals a run for the money. The album features occasional Garcia band mate David Nelson on vocals and Stu Allen, JGB Band member, on guitar. But it’s McReynolds’ effortless vocals and mando picking combined with the stellar songwriting of Garcia and Hunter that make Songs of the Grateful Dead such a memorable musical outing. Jerry Garcia wanted to be a Bluegrass Boy and play with Bill Monroe before he found fame as a counterculture hero, and at their core, these songs are simple folk songs that easily lend themselves to country adaptations. So put aside that moldy box of live tapes for a bit and experience the Grateful Dead, bluegrass style. It’s a trip!

Woodstock Records:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

From the Archives