While Grateful Dead songs have been arranged for a variety of genres like reggae, jazz, Americana, classical and others, a consistent style of covers comes from the world of bluegrass — particularly the progressive subset called jamgrass. With the JBLVA it’s easy to find jamgrass covers of Dead tunes, and here are a few to get you started.
Greensky Bluegrass | Eyes Of The World
Greensky Bluegrass showed off their Deadhead credentials during their 2015 visit to Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California — the venue/restaurant owned by Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. GSBG were joined by Lesh during their Dead-centric performance that featured covers of “Black Muddy River,”“Franklin’s Tower” and more. Lesh also accompanied the jamgrass outfit on “Eyes Of The World, that can be viewed above.
JamBase’s Songs Of Their Own video series celebrated the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary in 2015 with 50 different covers of the band’s original songs. Jamgrass veterans Leftover Salmon were kind enough to participate. Vince Herman, Drew Emitt and Andy Thorn were also at Terrapin Crossroads when they recorded “Mr. Charlie” during a pre-show session on the back patio. Check out the footage above.
Another well-established jamgrass outfit, Yonder Mountain String Band, also recorded a Grateful Dead cover for Songs Of Their Own. Demonstrating the adaptability of the Dead’s repertoire and YMSB’s own eclectic arranging skills, the group’s performance at the Fox Theater in Oakland featured their version of the disco-Dead defining “Shakedown Street.”
Billy Strings is perhaps best-known for his talents when it comes to playing the guitar. On originals and covers, Strings’ virtuosity is often on display through rapidly picked notes and dexterous fretwork. Strings and his band mates show off a more restrained, but nonetheless impressive musicality with their cover of the Grateful Dead’s “China Doll.” Check it out in the above video which also features covers of the Dead staple “Me And My Uncle,” Phish’s “Back On The Train” and more.
Certified Deadhead, Keller Williams went so far as to write a song about his experience at the notorious 1995 Grateful Dead show at Deer Creek, the aptly titled “Gate Crashers Suck.” KW might not be the first musician that comes to mind when it comes to jamgrass, but his devotion to the genre and the Dead collide during Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass performances. A rotating cast of jamgrass all-stars has participated in Grateful Grass, including The Infamous Stringdusters, who appear in this video of “Bertha” from the 2015 Summer Camp festival in Central Illinois.
The Infamous Stringdusters don’t need Keller to show off their dedication to the Dead. This video features the band performing the summertime favorite “Jack Straw” at the 2017 Blue Ox Festival in Wisconsin.
Horseshoes And Hand Grenades & Kitchen Dwellers | Fire On The Mountain
Dressed for Halloween, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades and Kitchen Dwellers celebrated the holiday with a collaborative encore finish to their show October 26, 2017 at the Majestic Theater in Madison, Wisconsin. The finale began with both bands onstage for the Kitchen Dwellers’ “Fall On My Knees,” which segued into the Grateful Deads “Fire On The Mountain.” Following the cover, the pair of bands collectively went back into “Fall On My Knees” to close out the show.