Listen To The First Five ‘Day Of The Dead’ Grateful Dead Covers


The years-in-the-making Day Of The Dead Grateful Dead tribute curated by The National’s Aaron & Bryce Dessner will be released May 20 via 4AD. Aaron & Bryce recruited an incredible lineup of musicians to interpret many Dead classics for a new generation. All told, Day Of The Dead features 59 tracks and over five hours of music. Today, five of the tracks on the compilation have been shared and can be instantly downloaded as part of a pre-order campaign.

The songs shared today include The War On Drugs’ version of the Dead’s 1987 hit “Touch Of Grey,” which is the first new music from the Philadelphia band since 2014’s Lost In A Dream. Also released today is Phosphorescent and Jenny Lewis, backed by the house band featuring 4/5 of the National that contributed to numerous recordings on the compilation, for a take on “Sugaree.” One-time Grateful Dead member Bruce Hornsby teams with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and his reunited first band DeYarmond Edison for “Black Muddy River.” We also get to hear Aussie rocker Courtney Barnett’s rendition of “New Speedway Boogie” and The National’s “Morning Dew.”

[The War On Drugs – Touch Of Grey]

[Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis & Friends – Sugaree]

[Bruce Hornsby & DeYarmond Edison – Black Muddy River]

[Courtney Barnett – New Speedway Boogie]

[The National – Morning Dew]

Day Of The Dead’s complete tracklist can be found below and includes Jim James & Friends (“Candyman”), Kurt Vile & The Violators with J Mascis (“Box Of Rain”), Mumford & Sons (“Friend Of The Devil”), Wilco & Bob Weir (“St. Stephen (Live)”), Cass McCombs, Joe Russo & Friends (“Dark Star”), Bela Fleck (“Help On The Way”), Orchestra Baobob (“Franklin’s Tower”), Real Estate (“Here Comes Sunshine”), The Flaming Lips (“Dark Star”) and dozens more.

Proceeds from the compilation will go towards HIV/AIDS non-profit Red Hot. A one-time-only Day Of The Dead live performance will take place at this year’s Eaux Claires festival in Wisconsin August 12 – 13. The National will be joined by Justin Vernon, Jenny Lewis, Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck, Will Oldham, Sam Amidon, Richard Reed Parry, Lucius, Bruce Hornsby and UMO’s Ruban Nielson for the performance.

Singer-songwriter Will Oldham of Bonnie “Prince” Billy said, “I have worked with a few people whose minds are brilliant and complicated, musically. There’s something about the Dead that allows these big-brained pickers to just chill the fuck out and feel good about it. There’s basic types of song forms and melodies that I have an affinity for, and the Grateful Dead have helped other people find their ways into these musics. So it isn’t as hard to establish connections with folks out there that might not otherwise share some of what I am digging into.” TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe added, “They’re one of the great, ‘do everything’ bands, take from whatever you want and warp it into something new. I’m sure that some of the space rock and psyche jam DNA of the band has seeped into what we do.” And in explaining why their music is relevant today Bill Callahan explained, “I feel like the Dead managed to show the bridge from the past to the future in a respectful way. Much more so than someone like the Stones who felt like pillagers to me. The Dead breathed life into the old songs, expanded the lungs of the old songs.”

Day Of The Dead will be released in multiple formats – digital, 5-CD box set and a limited edition vinyl box set. For much more on those involved with each track read the compilation’s digital booklet.

Day of the Dead Tracklist

Thunder (Vol. 1):

  • 01. Touch of Grey – The War on Drugs
  • 02. Sugaree – Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis & Friends
  • 03. Candyman – Jim James & Friends
  • 04. Cassidy – Moses Sumney, Jenny Lewis & Friends
  • 05. Black Muddy River – Bruce Hornsby and DeYarmond Edison
  • 06. Loser – Ed Droste, Binki Shapiro & Friends
  • 07. Peggy-O – The National
  • 08. Box of Rain – Kurt Vile and the Violators (featuring J Mascis)
  • 09. Rubin and Cherise – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends
  • 10. To Lay Me Down – Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten & Friends
  • 11. New Speedway Boogie – Courtney Barnett
  • 12. Friend of the Devil – Mumford & Sons
  • 13. Uncle John’s Band – Lucius
  • 14. Me and My Uncle – The Lone Bellow & Friends
  • 15. Mountains of the Moon – Lee Ranaldo, Lisa Hannigan & Friends
  • 16. Black Peter – Anohni and yMusic
  • 17. Garcia Counterpoint – Bryce Dessner
  • 18. Terrapin Station (Suite) – Daniel Rossen, Christopher Bear and The National (featuring Josh Kaufman, Conrad Doucette, So Percussion and Brooklyn Youth Chorus)
  • 19. Attics of My Life – Angel Olsen
  • 20. St. Stephen (live) – Wilco with Bob Weir

Lightning (Vol. 2):

  • 01 Bonnie “Prince” Billy: “If I Had the World to Give”
  • 02 Phosphorescent & Friends: “Standing on the Moon”
  • 03 Charles Bradley and Menahan Street Band: “Cumberland Blues”
  • 04 Tallest Man on Earth & Friends: “Ship of Fools”
  • 05 Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Friends: “Bird Song”
  • 06 The National: “Morning Dew”
  • 07 Marijuana Deathsquads: “Truckin’”
  • 08 Cass McCombs, Joe Russo & Friends: “Dark Star”
  • 09 Nightfall of Diamonds: “Nightfall of Diamonds”
  • 10 Tim Hecker: “Transitive Refraction Axis for John Oswald”
  • 11 Lucinda Williams & Friends: “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad”
  • 12 Tunde Adebimpe, Lee Ranaldo & Friends: “Playing in the Band”
  • 13 Local Natives: “Stella Blue”
  • 14 Tal National: “Eyes of the World”
  • 15 Bela Fleck: “Help on the Way”
  • 16 Orchestra Baobab: “Franklin’s Tower”
  • 17 Luluc With Xylouris White: “Till the Morning Comes”
  • 18 The Walkmen: “Ripple”
  • 19 Richard Reed Parry with Caroline Shaw and Little Scream: “Brokedown Palace” [ft. Garth Hudson]

Sunshine (Vol. 3):

  • 01 Real Estate: “Here Comes Sunshine”
  • 02 Unknown Mortal Orchestra: “Shakedown Street”
  • 03 Hiss Golden Messenger: “Brown Eyed Woman”
  • 04 This Is the Kit: “Jack-a-Roe”
  • 05 Daniel Rossen and Christopher Bear: “High Time”
  • 06 The Lone Bellow & Friends: “Dire Wolf”
  • 07 Winston Marshall, Kodiak Blue and Shura: “Althea”
  • 08 Orchestra Baobab: “Clementine Jam”
  • 09 Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: “China Cat Sunflower – I Know You Rider”
  • 10 Bill Callahan: “Easy Wind”
  • 11 Ira Kaplan & Friends: “Wharf Rat”
  • 12 The Rileys (Terry and Gyan Riley): “Estimated Prophet”
  • 13 Man Forever, So Percussion and Oneida: “Drums – Space”
  • 14 Fucked Up: “Cream Puff War”
  • 15 The Flaming Lips: “Dark Star”
  • 16 s t a r g a z e: “What’s Become of the Baby”
  • 17 Vijay Iyer: “King Solomon’s Marbles”
  • 18 Mina Tindle & Friends: “Rosemary”
  • 19 Sam Amidon & Friends: “And We Bid You Goodnight”
  • 20 The National With Bob Weir: “I Know You Rider (live)”