Grateful Dead Folk & Bluegrass Covers Spotify Playlist


Next month Round Records/ATO Records will issue Folk Time, an album showcasing Jerry Garcia’s pre-Grateful Dead folk and bluegrass quartet the Hart Valley Drifters. The archival release is said to be the earliest known studio recording made by a 20-year-old Jerry Garcia on lead vocals, banjo and guitar from a session held in 1962 with Robert Hunter on bass, David Nelson on guitar, Ken Frankel on banjo, fiddle and guitar and Norm Van Maastricht on dobro.

Folk and bluegrass music had an enormous impact on Garcia’s early musical development, and his work in projects like Hart Valley Drifters, Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, Old & In The Way and others allowed him to explore that influence throughout his career. As a member of the Grateful Dead he has impacted the musical development of numerous musicians whose style is rooted in folk and bluegrass music. The week’s Saturday Stream Spotify Playlist collects folk and bluegrass covers of songs regularly played by Garcia and the Grateful Dead.

Structured to flow somewhat in the manner of a live Dead show, Bela Fleck’s “Help On The Way” with Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, Abigail Washburn and The Wood Brothers’ Oliver Wood from the Day Of The Dead tribute album opens the playlist and Sam Amidon’s “And We Bid You Goodnight” from the same compilation closes the 21-song collection. “Franklin’s Tower” from Jesse McReynold’s Dead tribute LP comes after the opener and there are also tracks from each volume of the Pickin’ On Series as well as The Grass Is Dead and Wake The Dead tribute records.

Jamgrass outfits Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon and Hot Buttered Rum as well as Keller & The Keels are represented as is a take on “Friend Of The Devil” by Garcia and David Grisman. There’s no shortage of pick’n across the nearly two hours of covers which can be streamed below: