Songs Of Their Own | Strangefolk – To Lay Me Down

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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 and culminating with our grand finale 50th video premiering the day of the final Fare Thee Well show in Chicago on July 5. We started the series with a list of 100 Grateful Dead original songs (exclusively their tunes, not covers they often played) and asked many of our favorite artists to record cover versions either 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, Strangefolk guitarists Reid Genauer and Jon Trafton, took up “To Lay Me Down.”

Inspired while drinking a bottle of retsina, Robert Hunter wrote the lyrics to “To Lay Me Down,” “Brokedown Palace” and “Ripple” on the same afternoon in London in 1970. A brief acoustic set at The Matrix in San Francisco on July 30, 1970 featured fellow composer Jerry Garcia leading The Dead through its first live rendition. Garcia recorded the tune on his 1972 solo album Garcia. Played less than 70 additional times, “To Lay Me Down” sporadically appeared in setlists, at times going five or more years and more than 200 shows between performances. Busted out after a two-year gap, the first set of The Dead’s concert on June 28, 1992 at Deer Creek in Noblesville, Indiana included the song’s final performance by the band.

Previously featured in Songs Of Their Own entry #12 covering “Althea,” the pair of Strangefolk guitarists were willing to stick around the JamBase office to record “To Lay Me Down” as well. This Saturday, June 20 Reid Genauer will make his headlining debut at Terrapin Crossroads with a supporting cast featuring Reed Mathis (who you can see contributing “Deal” to this video series here), Mark Karan, Ezra Lipp and Genauer’s Assembly of Dust band mate Jason Crosby. Tickets to the Grate Room concert are available at the venue’s website.

Watch all of the Songs Of Their Own entries including Max Creek, Jackie Greene, Strangefolk, Midnight North, Anders Osborne & Luther Dickinson, Keller Williams and more via the YouTube Playlist below.

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