Songs Of Their Own | Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers – Bird Song

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, JamBase teamed with Telefunken to produce the Songs Of Their Own 50-day tribute series featuring a daily cover of a Grateful Dead original song. Our grand finale 50th video, a Playing For Change Songs Around The World rendition of “Ripple,” will premiere the day of the final Fare Thee Well show in Chicago on July 5. With a focus solely on Grateful Dead original songs, we asked many of our favorite artists to record cover versions at the JamBase office in San Francisco, at one of the many venues around the Bay Area, at Telefunken’s Connecticut studios and beyond. No song was allowed to be covered twice, and today’s participants Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers showed us “Bird Song.”

“Bird Song” debuted February 19, 1971 at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York – the beginning of Mickey Hart’s hiatus from the band that would last until 1974. Robert Hunter is said to have penned “Bird Song” for Janis Joplin, and Jerry Garcia co-wrote and recorded it for his 1972 Garcia solo album. Appearing almost always in the first set, through late-1973 “Bird Song” was a setlist regular but was dropped from the rotation until the storied 1980 Warfield run in San Francisco. From then on “Bird Song” was back to regularly appearing in first sets, last flying during set one on June 30, 1995 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

We closed the JamBase office yesterday both to celebrate Independence Day and so most everyone could head out to High Sierra Music Festival where our crew caught up with Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers. We were thrilled to have Nicki add vocals to the Incidental Animals’ Songs Of Their Own take on “Bertha” and the majestic settings of the festival grounds provided a perfect stage for The Gramblers to record a stunning performance of “Bird Song.” Kudos to bassist Steve Adams for hustling over to the Sierra Nevada tent to participate in the filming right after ALO’s set on the main stage.

Watch all of the Songs Of Their Own entries including Anders Osborne & Luther Dickinson, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams and more via the YouTube Playlist below.

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