Hear Delightful ‘Jerry Garcia/David Grisman’ Tribute Set From DelFest 2023
Garcia/Grisman Quartet members Joe Craven and Jim Kerwin were joined by Stu Allen and Ronnie McCoury for the 11-song performance.
One of the highlights of this year’s DelFest came last Friday, when Garcia/Grisman Quartet members fiddler/percussionist Joe Craven and bassist Jim Kerwin teamed with ace guitarist Stu Allen and acclaimed mandolinist Ronnie McCoury for a performance honoring the 1991 album Jerry Garcia / David Grisman. The ensemble rolled through the first eight tracks from the legendary LP and threw in a few bonuses on the Potomac Stage at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, Maryland.
Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia and famed mandolinist David Grisman reunited to record the eponymous album in 1990 at Grisman’s Dawg Studios after first meeting in 1964 and playing together in bluegrass supergroup Old & In The Way. Garcia and Grisman recruited Craven and Kerwin to contribute to the sessions that yielded Jerry Garcia / David Grisman and a few albums that followed as well as a series of live shows.
Allen stepped into the Jerry Garcia role, a spot he’s very familiar with having performed in a variety of Dead/Garcia tributes –including his own Mars Hotel project — and as a frequent member of Phil Lesh & Friends. Ronnie McCoury, whose family hosts DelFest, did a fantastic job playing and singing Grisman’s parts.
The 75-minute performance saw Allen and McCoury share lead vocal duties. Ronnie and Joe told stories of their times with Garcia and Grisman along the way. Up first was a sizzling take on the B.B. King-popularized “The Thrill Is Gone.” The four musicians then made their way through the Jerry/David co-written instrumental “Grateful Dawg” and traditional “Two Soldiers” before Allen helmed a goregous version of the Dead classic “Friend Of The Devil.”
Craven, Kerwin, Allen and McCoury followed with the Garcia/Grisman arrangement of Irving Berlin’s “Russian Lullaby.” Next, Ronnie McCoury shined on the Grisman-penned “Dawg’s Waltz.” The portion of the performance devoted to Jerry Garcia / David Grisman ended with the pairing of “Walkin’ Boss” and “Rockin’ Chair.” More songs from the the Garcia/Grisman Quartet’s repertoire rounded out the set in “Shady Grove,” a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Sitting Here In Limbo” and the Hunter/Garcia number “Ripple.”
Listen to an audience recording of the set taped by George Barrick below:
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Set: The Thrill Is Gone, Grateful Dawg, Two Soldiers, Friend Of The Devil, Russian Lullaby, Dawg’s Waltz, Walkin’ Boss, Rockin’ Chair, Shady Grove, Sitting Here In Limbo, Ripple