Songs Of Their Own | Toby Oler – Alabama Getaway

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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 participant Toby Oler turned around “Alabama Getaway.”

“Alabama Getaway” made its debut to open the second set the night of The Dead’s November 4, 1979 show at the Providence Civic Center in Rhode Island. The first track on their 1980 Go To Heaven LP, the Hunter/Garcia composition quickly became a favorite of the band, being played over 50 times in 1980, more than of a third of its total renditions. Often used to open sets but with less frequency over the rest of the 1980s, “Alabama Getaway” wasn’t played from late 1989 to early 1995, a final performance coming to open the June 2, 1995 Dead show at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Sung by Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, “Alabama Getaway” was performed during the first set of last Sunday’s Fare Thee Well concert in Santa Clara, California.

Oakland resident Toby Oler didn’t have to go far to record his version of “Alabama Getaway” as we set-up in his backyard. In addition to his solo work, the songwriter has collaborated with members of fellow Songs Of Their Own participants Midnight North, including composing songs for the band with multi-instrumentalist Elliott Peck. For this taping Oler played lap steel, backed by Jake Alexander on drums and Matt Lundquist on pedal steel guitar.

Head here to explore our Songs Of Their Own homepage featuring John Scofield & John Medeski, Yonder Mountain String Band, Incidental Animals, Holly Bowling, Keller Williams and more or watch each entry via the YouTube Playlist below.