Phil Lesh Friends We’d Like to See | Gary Louris

Phil Lesh is set to spend 2014 without Furthur (for the most part) and with a rotating cast of Friends, so we’ve taken the liberty of nominating some potential bandmates who haven’t been part of Friends lineups past. This week, we’re turning our laser pointers at Gary Louris, long-running Jayhawks front man and soulful country-rocker.

Louris has one of those voices: tender, evocative, and malleable in such a way that he can sound country, folk or pop just by changing the inflection. He’s covered all those bases as leader of the Jayhawks, among the greatest of the alt-country vanguard, and also through numerous other associations, including his solo work and participation in the loosely defined Golden Smog collective.

The Dead’s American Beauty/Workingman’s Dead era, where the manic psychedelia of the late '60s gave way to adventurous, classic-sounding Americana, would seem a natural fit for Louris, who’d add just the right touch of alt-rock angst and Laurel Canyon glaze to the proceedings.

There’s less evidence to suggest Louris would take hold of a gnarly, spacey jam, but with his singer and guitarist bona fides established, we’re guessing he’d be up for the adventure. And what fun it would be to hear a roots-leaning Phil ensemble work in Jayhawks classics like “Miss Williams’ Guitar” or “Blue,” in much the same way Lesh cottoned to songs by Ryan Adams and Jackie Greene in previous Friends eras.

Written By: Chad Berndtson

[Published on: 12/23/13]

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