Songs Of Their Own | Strangefolk – Althea

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, JamBase teamed with Telefunken to produce the Songs Of Their Own video series. We began with a list of 100 Grateful Dead original songs (exclusively their tunes, not covers they often played) and tapped many of our favorite artists to record a cover version either at the JamBase office in San Francisco or at one of the many venues around town and beyond. No song was allowed to be covered twice, and today’s participants, Strangefolk guitarists Reid Genauer and Jon Trafton, settled back into “Althea.”

“Althea” made its Grateful Dead live debut on August 4, 1979 at the Oakland Auditorium, the same night Jerry Garcia (who wrote the song with Robert Hunter) introduced his Doug Irwin custom Tiger guitar. Recorded for the band’s 1980 Go To Heaven album, “Althea” would be played live – often in the first set and often on Tiger which became Jerry’s most played axe – at over 250 Dead shows. Its final performance came at the second to last Grateful Dead concert at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 8, 1995.

Reid and Jon and the rest of Strangefolk first played “Althea” at the Gathering of the Vibes Festival in June 1997. Though the band only played the song one additional time that same year, Reid and Jon were ready to dust it off when they arrived JamBase HQ in San Francisco this week. The pair of current Bay Area locals had The Dead on their minds, having both just watched the Bob Weir Netflix documentary. They will appear with Strangefolk in honor of the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary at Garcia’s at The Capitol Theatre on June 4 – 6 for shows that will incorporate Dead covers.

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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