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
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,
or pop just by changing the inflection. He’s covered all those bases as leader of the
Jayhawks, among the greatest of
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
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
by Ryan Adams and Jackie Greene in previous Friends eras.
Written By: Chad Berndtson