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At A Glance
David Nelson has managed the seemingly impossible. He has remained true to his musical vision and integrity without becoming outdated or archaic in the process. Nelson, an important figure in the musical vanguard of the influential Haight-Ashbury music scene, spawned the Grateful Dead. His ties to Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter extend beyond that with The Wildwood Boys, a bluegrass band they formed together in 1962 in Palo Alto, CA. After the Dead got together, Nelson played guitar on three pivotal albums, Aoxomoxoa, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. Around the same time, Garcia bought a pedal steel guitar, which he enjoyed playing with John Dawson, a friend from the Palo Alto days. They formed the New Riders of the Purple Sage with Nelson and the Dead's Mickey Hart and Phil Lesh. Nelson who sang one of New Rider's biggest hits, a cover of bluegrass great Peter Rowan's "Panama Red," stayed with the group for 13 years, but left in 1982 and starting writing songs with longtime pal Robert Hunter, among others. Along the way, he was a member of the Good Ol' Boys, featuring bluegrass legends Don Reno, Chubby Wise and Frank Wakefield. He also played in the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band and is featured on their 1988 album, "Almost Acoustic." Then in 1994, Nelson formed the David Nelson Band where he showcased his plethora of songs. In six years, DNB released four CDs. Three are live efforts: 1995's Limited Edition, 1997's Keeper of the Key, and 1999's High Adventure in Japan, which is also a concert video. In 1999 Nelson released the band's studio debut, Visions Under the Moon which was recorded in Portland, OR's Aladdin Theater. Things have come full circle with Nelson at the helm of The New Riders.
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