Tag Archives: Jerry Garcia

Hart Valley Drifters – earliest known studio recordings by Jerry Garcia to be released

Hart Valley Drifters - Folk Time CD

Before the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, along with friends like Robert Hunter, Sandy Rothman, and David Nelson were just folkies picking tunes in coffee-houses in Palo Alto and working on their bluegrass chops.   Garcia, Hunter, and Nelson, along with Ken Frankel, and Norm Van Maastricht soon would form the Hart Valley Drifters, an acoustic band that played old-timey and bluegrass style songs.   In 1962 the group woud record a session for Stanford University’s KZSU program Folk Time.

For the first time, this recording, the earliest known studio recording by Jerry  Garcia will be released on November 11 through Round Records/ATO Records.  The lost session resided in a closet for nearly 50 years before the reels were unearthed in 2008 by former Stanford student Ted Claire, who produced and recorded the original session.

The Hart Valley Drifters featured a 20-year old Garcia on lead vocals, banjo and guitar, Hunter on bass, Nelson on guitar, Frankel on banjo, fiddle and guitar and Van Maastricht on dobro. Years before Garcia and Hunter would form an iconic songwriting partnership, and Nelson would cofound New Riders of the Purple Sage, the three crafted soaring three-part vocal harmonies in the tradition of some of their American folk and bluegrass heroes. Around this time, Garcia had been educating himself on American folk and bluegrass tradition. After learning guitar and banjo, he became a self-taught multi-instrumentalist adding, mandolin, autoharp and fiddle to his repertoire.

The Hart Valley Drifters recorded spirited renditions of traditionals such as, “Roving Gambler”. “Standing In The Need of Prayer”, “Cripple Creek” as well as the Ralph Stanley composition “Clinch Mountain Backstep” and Earl Scruggs’ “Ground Speed” and “Flint Hill Special”. The session ends with a soulful version of the Walter Jacobs Vinson/Lonnie Carter classic “Sitting On Top Of The World”, which Garcia eventually evolved into the lively rendition that would wind up on the Grateful Dead’s debut album five years later. (See track listing below)

Pre-order Hart Valley Drifters’ Folk Time at: JerryGarcia.com

Hart Valley Drifters – Folk Time Track Listing

1. Band Introductions

2. “Roving Gambler” (Traditional)

3. “Ground Speed” (Earl Scruggs)

4. “Pig In A Pen” (Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith [traditional] arr. by J. Garcia)

5. “Standing In The Need Of Prayer” (Traditional)

6. “Flint Hill Special” (Earl Scruggs)

7. “Nine Pound Hammer” (Traditional)

8. “Handsome Molly” (G.B. Grayson/Henry Whitter)

9. “Clinch Mountain Backstep” (Ralph Stanley/Ruby Rakes)

10. “Think of What You’ve Done” (Carter Stanley)

11. “Cripple Creek” (Traditional)

12. “All The Good Times Have Past And Gone” (Traditional)

13. “Billy Grimes, The Rover” (Traditional)

14. “Paddy On The Turnpike (Boys, My Money’s All Gone)” (Traditional)

15. “Run Mountain” (J.E. Mainer)

16. “Sugar Baby” (Moran Dock Boggs)

17. “Sitting On Top Of The World” (Walter Jacobs Vinson/Lonnie Carter)

New Fiddle/ Banjo album due out from Brian Godchaux & Sandy Rothman

red banjo silver fiddleThe Red Fiddle & the Silver Banjo, the new album from Brian Godchaux and Sandy Rothman is out now.  The album is composed of thirteen traditional tunes played on fiddle and banjo only.  This duet form was known well in early Appalachian communities; after the 1940s advent of bluegrass it was preserved by some bands as a break in the show. In that setting, tunes were generally abbreviated to a couple of minutes. Godchaux and Rothman decided to play them longer.

Godchaux and Rothman first met when Rothman was playing with Godchaux’s older brother Keith in an R&B in 1964 in the Bay Area.  Keith would go on to play with the Grateful Dead for much of the 1970s, while Rothman – a longtime close friend of Jerry Garcia – would go onto to play with Bill Monroe in the mid 1960s and later was member of the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band in the 1980s.

Rothman and Brian Godchaux reconnected in the early 1990s and have been playing together every since.

The Red Fiddle & Silver Banjo is out now and can be ordered here:  The Red Fiddle & Silver Banjo website


New Book Chronicles Influential Bluegrass Scene in Baltimore

CoverHonest Tune Features Editor Tim Newby’s new book will chronicle the history of the influential bluegrass scene in Baltimore.

Due to an influx of Appalachian migrants who came looking for work in the 1940s and 50s, Baltimore found itself the recipient of an extraordinarily talented crop of musicians and for a brief time was the center of the bluegrass world.

Based upon interviews with many of the legendary players from this golden-age of bluegrass in Baltimore, who had moved to the city in hopes of a better future and found it in music, Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin’ Sound & Its Legacy, is the first book to take an in-depth look into how the music that was played in Baltimore came to wield influence across a broad musical landscape.

The book will be published by McFarland Books and released May 2015.

Bluegrass in Baltimore looks in detail at the highly-influential scene in Baltimore that produced such key figures as Del McCoury, Earl Taylor, Walt Hensley, Alice Gerrard, Hazel Dickens, Mike Seeger, and Mike Munford and explores the impact the music they made had on a wide-range of musical luminaries including Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Pete Wernick, Sam Bush, Chris Hillman, and many others.

The journey of these Baltimore musicians was not an easy one.  They struggled in the face of a music industry that viewed the music they made as the “poorest example of poor man’s music.”  There were missed opportunities, personal demons, and the always up-hill battle these pioneers had to fight because of the prejudice against their hillbilly backgrounds. Due to this many of these original Baltimore musicians found they were often resigned to the overlooked role of early innovator or forgotten influence, but the music they made and the influence they had has lasted forever.


Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin’ Sound and Its Legacy is available for pre-order now: McFarland Books


Steve Kimock & Friends: A Tribute to Jerry Garcia

Steve Kimock & Friends: A Tribute To Jerry Garcia

Ardmore Music Hall

Ardmore, PA



Kimock & Friends - 3.15.15 (9)“Never miss a Sunday show.”

This statement rang true when Steve Kimock & Friends performed some of their favorite Jerry Garcia tunes at Ardmore Music Hall.  Over four decades of performing live the guitar wizard became close friends and has had the opportunity on many occasions to share the stage with The Grateful Dead. With the psychedelic Bay Area group celebrating fifty-years, it is fitting that Kimock pays homage to his friend and Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist, Jerry Garcia.  A group of accomplished musicians joined him onstage this evening, Bobby Vega (Bass), Bill Vitt (Drums), John Morgan Kimock (Drums), Jeff Chimenti (Keyboards/Organ), and Dan Lebowitz (Guitar/Vocals).


Kimock & Friends - 3.15.15 (4)As the band took the stage in front of a capacity crowd on Sunday night there were hoots and hollers in anticipation of what the super group was going to start the evening off with. “High Heeled Sneakers” kicked off the set, with Kimock’s smooth guitar and Chimenti’s steady keys starting off the tune.  This was a perfect beginning to the night.  Dan Lebowitz, from ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) took the opportunity to let his voice shine on the opener. With the funky bass of Vega and Kimock’s tasty guitar licks, “Merle’s Boogie,” brought a smile to everyone in attendance.  Chimenti took center stage during the song with a flawless solo on his organ.  You could hear a pin drop as the band started into a perfect rendition of the classic number, “Black Muddy River.”  Drummers Vitt and John Morgan Kimock laid down a nice soothing backbeat as the elder Kimock took the spotlight with his graceful lap steel.


Kimock & Friends - 3.15.15 (6)Vega started out “Expressway to Your Heart” with a bassline that led Chimenti and Steve Kimock to join in the tune seamlessly.  This number during the first set reminded everyone in attendance why Vega is considered one of the most well rounded bassists in the jamband world.  The extended take on the Soul Survivors classic gave each band member time to shine throughout the seventeen-plus minutes.  To conclude the opening set guitarists Kimock and Lebowitz stepped up to the microphone to sing

Kimock & Friends - 3.15.15 (18)“Money Honey” which was first recorded by Garcia and longtime friend and musician, Merl Saunders, on The Keystone Companions: The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings.  As the band was introduced the sold out Ardmore Music Hall was smiling from ear to ear and waiting to hear what the group had in store for them during the second set.

As the band took the stage and the capacity crowd settled back in the sextet opened the second set with “Aiko Aiko,” which made Ardmore feel like it was down in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. The band then pleased the capacity crowd by performing a stellar rendition of The Grateful Dead classic, “Bertha.” With a deep, prominent bass groove and the backing of Vitt & Kimock on drums, with the pair sounding just the rhythm devils Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman, the band really connected with the fans on this one.  Lebowitz lent his vocals and acoustic guitar expertise and Chimenti performed a solo for the ages.  You could feel the energy in the room that was going back and forth between the band and crowd during “Bertha.”  It was pure magic.  Next Kimock quieted the crowd with a moving rendition of “Stella Blue,” that was laced with some of his chilling pedal steel work.


Kimock & Friends - 3.15.15 (11)The band threw a curveball into the mix when they started out with the Grateful Dead classic  “Help On The Way,” which slid easily into its common partner “Slipknot!” before throwing the crowd for a loop as it then transitioned smoothly into the Jesse Stone number, “Don’t Let Go,” which then moved into a perfect segue into “Philadelphia Mambo.”  The group capped the night off paying homage to J.J. Cale with a version of “After Midnight,” that included The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby.”



Yahoo! offers highlight reel from TRI “Move Me Brightly” Garcia tribute ft. Weir, Lesh, Mike Gordon & more

For those that were either uninformed, asleep at the wheel, totally inept at the internet or simply busy doing other things, Yahoo! Music has now released highlights from the beautifully produced and perfectly executed “Move Me Brightly,” the Jerry Garcia tribute that was put on by Y! Music and Bob Weir’s TRI Studios.

The night featured a stellar cast of those that one would expect including most of the living members of the Grateful Dead and those associated with various side projects, but also musicians who were ranged from sort of surprising to “holy shit, really?” folks, and included: Mike Gordon (Phish), Chris Tomson (Vampire Weekend), Craig Finn and Tad Kubler (Hold Steady) and Jim Lauderdale, amongst others. There were some notable absentees, but musically, it made no difference.

Below is a setlist of what can be seen and heard in the highlight reel that has been culled from the four hour set.

To watch and read more about the evening (including a misspelling of Furthur), click here to visit Yahoo!’s (pretty stellar) attempt at being mildly cool and semi-relevant again.  It would be much better if they had included “Bird Song” from the evening, though. But hey, this is some serious progress so nit-picking is probably not the most appropriate thing to do at this point.


Highlight Reel Setlist
(courtesy of Yahoo!)


1. The Wheel > Cumberland Blues – Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Joe Russo, Neal Casal, Jason Abraham Roberts, Jeff Chimenti, Donna Jean Godchaux, Jonathan Graboff

2. Dupree’s Diamond Blues – Cass McCombs, Mike Gordon, Joe Russo, Sam Cohen, Jeff Chimenti, Josh Kaufman, Neal Casal

3. Ship of Fools – Bob Weir, Donna Jean Godchaux, Jeff Chimenti, Neal Casal, Joe Russo, Mike Gordon, Jonathan Graboff

4. Friend of the Devil – Jim Lauderdale, Cass McCombs, Harper Simon

5. Mission in the Rain – Jonathan Wilson, Mike Gordon, Joe Russo, Donna Jean Godchaux, Neal Cassal, Jeff Chimenti

6. Shakedown Street – Bob Weir, Joe Russo, Mark Gordon, Jeff Chimenti, Harper Simon, Chris Tomson, Donna Jean Godchaux, Adam McDougal, Sam Cohen, Josh Kaufman

7. Terrapin Station – Cass McCombs, Donna Jean Godchaux, Mike Gordon, Joe Russo, Jonathan Graboff, Sam Cohen, Josh Kaufman, Jeff Chimenti

8. He’s Gone – Bob Weir, Mike Gordon, Donna Jean Godchaux, Jeff Chimenti, Joe Russo, Sam Cohen, Josh Kaufman, Jonathan Graboff

9. Eyes of the World – Bob Weir, Jim Lauderdale, Mike Gordon, Donna Jean Godchaux, Jeff Chimenti, Joe Russo, Sam Cohen, Josh Kaufman, Jonathan Graboff, Adam McDougal, Harper Simon

10. Scarlet Begonias – Bob Weir, Craig Finn, Donna Jean Godchaux, Joe Russo, Mark Gordon, Josh Kaufman, Sam Cohen, Tad Kubler, Jeff Chimenti, Adam McDougal, Jonathan Graboff

11. Days Between – Bob Weir, Neal Cassal, Jeff Chimenti, Sam Cohen, Josh Kaufman, Mike Gordon, Joe Russo, Jonathan Wilson, Jonathan Graboff

12. Franklin’s Tower – Bob Weir, Jason Abraham Roberts, Donna Jean Godchaux, Joe Russo, Jonathan Wilson, Mike Gordon, Chris Tomson, Josh Kaufman, Sam Cohen, Harper Simon, Neal Casal, Jim Lauderdale, Jonathan Graboff, Adam McDougal, Jeff Chimenti




The Grateful Dead : The Grateful Dead Movie

Perhaps one of the best-known icons of the Grateful Dead, the  dancing skeleton was reworked as Uncle Sam by artist Gary Gutierrez for the opening animation of 1977’s The Grateful Dead Movie, where it dances, jams, and rides a motorcycle through psychedelic  scenery, leading viewers into the live performances at the core of the concert film. Years out of print, The Grateful Dead Movie is back, and the Uncle Sam skeleton’s glorious jig is now even more illuminated, thanks to Blu-Ray technology.

Filmed over a five-night stand in October 1974 at the Winterland Ballroom – and co-directed by frontman Jerry Garcia –  the film documents a high point in Dead lore. It marked the final shows before an extended hiatus, and it also marked the return of drummer Mickey Hart after a three-plus year absence. Take away all of these milestones, though, and what you have is a solid documentary with stellar playing by the band. Choice cuts like “Eyes of the World,” with its cascading breakdowns, and the heart-tugging  “Stella Blue” highlight the performance footage, which are interspersed with film of the crew setting up the Wall of Sound, blissed out audiences reveling during the performances, and often-comical commentary from Deadheads in attendance during the run.

The Blu-Ray release takes The Grateful Dead Movie to another level, though, with remastered audio and restored footage from the original negatives. If that wasn’t enough, a second disc includes 95 more minutes of live footage culled from this run, including meandering, improvisational readings of “The Other One,” which segues into “Spanish Jam” and “Mind Left Body Jam” before concluding, and the classic jam vehicle “Dark Star.”

The Grateful Dead Movie’s return is a reason to celebrate.  It is brighter, clearer, and sounds better than ever, a visual reminder of the magic of the Grateful Dead.

The Grateful Dead Movie is out now on Shout! Factory.

10 Questions with…John Kadlecik

dso_thumb.jpgDark Star Orchestra has been reinventing and paying tribute to The Grateful Dead concert for almost a decade. 

The band has had many special guests, including Dead members Bob Weir and Donna Jean Godchaux, sit in with them as they perpetually take their own version of the long, strange trip on the road.

Honest Tune.com caught up with lead guitarist and singer John Kadlecik at the closing Cincinnati stop on their summer 2007 tour.

Continue reading 10 Questions with…John Kadlecik