David Gans To Release Grateful Dead Tribute LP


On Friday, David Gans will release It’s A Hand-Me-Down, a collection of 13 Grateful Dead covers performed in a “solo electric” context. The LP is available for pre-order now via Festival Link and Amazon and will be up for grabs on iTunes this Friday.

Gans is one of the foremost Grateful Dead historians with a number of books about the band under the belt including the recently released This Is All A Dream We Dreamed – An Oral History Of The Grateful Dead, which he put together with Blair Jackson. Not only is David known for his writing and as host of The Grateful Dead Hour and co-host of Tales From The Golden Road, he’s a gifted musician and songwriter. “David Gans has a wonderful way of getting to the emotional center of Grateful Dead songs. He has very much his own twist on these world treasures and yet pays proper homage to the elements that made them great,” Dark Star Orchestra guitarist Jeff Mattson said of Gans.

David Gans makes ample use of looping and electronics that help bring an inventive feel to his interpretations of Grateful Dead classics. “The idea was to make a record that sounds like my performances: guitar and vocal, with some additional layers of guitar made possible by the Boss RC-30 Loop Station which allows me to record the chord changes of a song so I can play a guitar solo on top of them. It also makes it possible to create multi-layered performances of composed and improvised music,” Gans said.

While “Lazy River Road” and “Attics Of My Life” are cut down to their basics with just Gans’ guitar and voice, his takes on “Ship Of Fools,” “Loser,” “Stagger Lee,” “Black Peter” and “Brokedown Palace” are similar to his live renditions featuring guitar fills and solos with the help of the looper. David picks songs which contain lyrics and melodies he’s explored deeply and inhabited in performance. “Songs I cover from the Dead or other artists tend to tell a piece of my own story. It might just be one line or part of a line in a song that resonates in my own little atomic structure, and I don’t always recognize the connection at first. But eventually I find the resonances. I do the songs that I feel are appropriate for me,” says Gans, “and I’ve adapted them to my own style. I’ve changed the key, changed the phrasing or the groove.”

In addition to the release of the new album, David Gans has a number of appearances scheduled in support of This Is All A Dream We Dreamed – An Oral History Of The Grateful Dead.


  1. Stagger Lee 4:02
  2. Lazy River Road 5:45
  3. Ship of Fools 4:06
  4. Loser 6:54
  5. Looks Like Rain 6:33
  6. Wharf Rat 7:22
  7. Stella Blue 6:03
  8. Black Peter 6:34
  9. New Speedway Boogie 5:40
  10. Deal 3:58
  11. Terrapin Station 7:26
  12. Attics of My Life 4:53
  13. Brokedown Palace 5:04