About The China Cats
“The China Cats aren’t a cover band,” says Nicholas Meriwether, archivist of the new Grateful Dead collection at UC Santa Cruz. “They approach the Dead’s work with same kind of reverence and sophistication that the Dead themselves showed in their own forays into American roots music.”
“When you listen the Cats,” Meriweather says, “old favorites take on new lives, revealing facets that will delight and amaze even jaded listeners. These guys aren’t copycats — their sets demonstrate how the Dead’s music now is a part of the great American songbook, alongside the giants who first inspired the Dead.”
This Bay Area tribute band performs the songs of the Grateful Dead with spirited jams that carry their own genuine personality while paying homage to their musical forefathers. They’re a full-fledged band, listening closely to one another as they share the happy tangle that defines Dead-style jams. They relish the use of familiar Dead motifs: bluegrassy phrasing on lines far outside the bluegrass idiom, group pauses with glimmering sustained notes, and overlapping scales that unfurled like maypole ribbons. The most recent addition to the band, lead guitarist Matt Hartle is well-known for his Garcia-esque tone and playing through his work with Melvin Seals and Shady Groove.
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