4AD Releases ‘Day Of The Dead’ Grateful Dead Tribute Box Set


One of the highlights of this week’s Release Day Picks entries, and so far one of the highlights of the year, today the 4AD record label released the massive Day Of The Dead box set benefiting the Red Hot Organization HIV/AIDS charity. Curated by The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner and featuring an all-star roster of musicians from across many different scenes covering songs from the Grateful Dead‘s repertoire, the set features 59-tracks and clocks in at almost five and a half hours.

The contributors to Day Of The Dead include Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir on a live recording with Wilco and one with The National. Bruce Hornsby performs with DeYarmond Edison – a pre-Bon Iver group featuring Justin Vernon and members of Megafaun, and The Band keyboardist Garth Hudson appears alongside Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry and others. Renowned composer Terry Riley and his son Gyan Riley also recorded together as “The Rileys” for the project.

Others who covered songs for the box set include Jim James, Mumford & Sons, The War On Drugs, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Courtney Barnett, Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan, Real Estate, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Jenny Lewis, The Flaming Lips, Orchestra Baobab and Kurt Vile & The Violators with Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis. Many worked with a session band composed of The National’s Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf and Scott Devendorf, as well as Conrad Doucette, Josh Kaufman, Walter Martin and a few others.

Drummer Joe Russo of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead appears alongside singer-songwriter Cass McCombs and Jon Shaw on “Dark Star” and the same ensemble is billed as “Nightfall Of Diamonds” on the track of the same name. Singer-songwriter Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy contributed to several recordings, including Sam Amidon’s “And We Bid You Goodnight.” Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band were joined by Tedeschi Trucks Band vocalist Alecia Chakour and others on “Cumberland Blues.”

The rendition of “Help On The Way” led by banjo master Bela Fleck also features The Wood Brothers’ Oliver Wood on vocals as well as Zakir Hussain on tabla, Edgar Meyer on bass and Fleck’s wife Abigail Washburn on vocals. Guitarist William Tyler can heard on Hiss Golden Messenger’s version of “Brown-Eyed Women” and Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson can be found on the recording of “Playing In The Band” with TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe and Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo. Stream the entire 59-track compilation via 4AD below:


  1. Touch of Grey by The War on Drugs
  2. Sugaree by Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis & Friends
  3. Candyman by Jim James & Friends
  4. Cassidy by Moses Sumney, Jenny Lewis & Friends
  5. Black Muddy River by Bruce Hornsby & DeYarmond Edison
  6. Loser by Ed Droste, Binki Shapiro & Friends
  7. Peggy-O by The National
  8. Box of Rain by Kurt Vile and the Violators (featuring J Mascis)
  9. Rubin & Cherise by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends
  10. To Lay Me Down by Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten & Friends
  11. New Speedway Boogie by Courtney Barnett
  12. Friend of the Devil by Mumford and Sons
  13. Uncle John’s Band by Lucius
  14. Me and My Uncle by The Lone Bellow & Friends
  15. Mountains of the Moon by Lee Ranaldo, Lisa Hannigan & Friends
  16. Black Peter by Anohni and yMusic
  17. Garcia Counterpoint by Bryce Dessner
  18. Terrapin Station (Suite) by Daniel Rossen, Christopher Bear & The National (featuring Josh Kaufman, Conrad Doucette, Sō Percussion & Brooklyn Youth Chorus)
  19. Attics of My Life by Angel Olsen
  20. St. Stephen by Wilco with Bob Weir (live)
  21. If I Had the World to Give by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
  22. Standing on the Moon by Phosphorescent & Friends
  23. Cumberland Blues by Charles Bradley and Menahan Street Band
  24. Ship of Fools by The Tallest Man On Earth & Friends
  25. Bird Song by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends
  26. Morning Dew by The National
  27. Truckin’ by Marijuana Death Squads
  28. Dark Star by Cass McCombs, Joe Russo & Friends
  29. Nightfall of Diamonds by Nightfall of Diamonds
  30. Transitive Refraction Axis for John Oswald by Tim Hecker
  31. Going Down The Road Feeling Bad by Lucinda Williams & Friends
  32. Playing in the Band by Tunde Adebimpe, Lee Ranaldo & Friends
  33. Stella Blue by Local Natives
  34. Eyes of the World by Tal National
  35. Help On The Way by Béla Fleck
  36. Franklin’s Tower by Orchestra Baobab
  37. Til the Morning Comes by Luluc with Xylouris White
  38. Ripple by The Walkmen
  39. Brokedown Palace by Richard Reed Parry with Caroline Shaw and Little Scream (featuring Garth Hudson)
  40. Here Comes Sunshine by Real Estate
  41. Shakedown Street by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
  42. Brown-Eyed Women by Hiss Golden Messenger
  43. Jack-A-Roe by This Is The Kit
  44. High Time by Daniel Rosen and Christopher Bear
  45. Dire Wolf by The Lone Bellow & Friends
  46. Althea by Winston Marshall, Kodiak Blue and Shura
  47. Clementine Jam by Orchestra Baobab
  48. China Cat Sunflower · I Know You Rider by Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
  49. Easy Wind by Bill Callahan
  50. Wharf Rat by Ira Kaplan & Friends
  51. Estimated Prophet by The Rileys
  52. Drums · Space by Man Forever / Sō Percussion / Onieda
  53. Cream Puff War by Fucked Up
  54. Dark Star by The Flaming Lips
  55. What’s Become of the Baby by s t a r g a z e
  56. King Solomon’s Marbles by Vijay Iyer
  57. Rosemary by Mina Tindle & Friends
  58. And We Bid You Goodnight by Sam Amidon
  59. I Know You Rider by The National with Bob Weir (live)