On Friday night Chris Robinson continued his California-centric run with his latest project Green Leaf Rustlers as they moved 25-plus miles north from the tour opener in Oakland for a gig at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley. The five-piece jukebox country-rock act had something special in store for the Bay Area faithful as they welcomed Bob Weir to join them for a string of songs during their first set.
Chris Robinson & Co. got the night underway with Bob Dylan and The Band’s The Basement Tapes cuts “Odds And Ends.” From there the quintet reeled off a diverse selection of songs with George Jones’ “Honky Tonk Song,” “Brand New Heartache,” from The Everly Brothers 1958 self-titled debut, Townes Van Zandt’s “Standin’,” The Sir Douglas Quintet’s “Dynamite Woman,” with Mother Hips’ guitarist Greg Loiacono showing off his vocal skills on Eagles’ “Train Leaves Here This Morning.”
Towards the end of the first set, Robinson invited Bob Weir to the stage as he fronted the GRL on a string of covers that he performed with the Grateful Dead. First, up for the ad-hoc ensemble was a pair of songs that the Dead debuted in 1969 that would remain in their repertoire through their final shows in 1995 – Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” and The Rolling Stones via Bobby Womack – “It’s All Over Now.” Weir than looked to Bob Dylan for “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” with the group closing out the first frame with the second George Jones tune of the night – “The Race Is On.”
Green Leaf Rustlers got their second set of the night going with “Big Mouth Blues” from Gram Parsons 1973 solo debut GP. The band worked in a handful of new covers on night two of their tour with takes on “Is Anyone Going To San Antone,” which was a number one hit for country singer Charlie Pride in 1970, R&B singer King Floyd’s “Groove Me” and nodded back to Weir’s sit-in with a version the Grateful Dead’s “Bertha.” GLR brought the night to a close with two songs from the pioneers of psychedelic country rock as they looked to The Flying Burrito Brothers for “Wheels” from their Cosmic Americana masterpiece Gilded Palace Of Sin and “Groupie” from New Riders Of The Purple Sage’s 1972 release Gypsy Cowboy.
Watch pro-shot video of the entire show courtesy of the folks at Sweetwater Music Hall and check out the full setlist below: