Grateful Dead

Almanac 2014

Dead World Roundup

"It's a goddamn impossible way of life."

Those words were spoken by Robbie Robertson, guitarist, songwriter and singer, to Martin Scorsese, filmmaker, during an interview that appears in The Last Waltz, the cinematic document of the 1976 farewell concert by Robertson’s revered ensemble, The Band. The way of life to which he referred was what musicians often refer to simply as "The Road" — the life of a touring rock 'n' roller, and the toll that existence has taken on the physical and mental well-being of so many great performing artists.Robertson discussed the sixteen years he and his colleagues spent on the road, first as the backing band for early rock legend Ronnie Hawkins, then working with Bob Dylan on his tumultuous early electric-era tours, and finally as headliners in their own right — "eight years in bars, dives, dance halls, eight years of concerts, stadiums, arenas…" — and concluded by saying, "the numbers start to scare you… I mean, I couldn't live with twenty years on the road. I don't think I could even discuss it."

However (and with all due respect to the estimable Mr. Robertson): if the sixteen years The Band put in on the road prior to The Last Waltz — estimated to comprise a bit fewer than 400 performances — represent a goddamn impossible way of life, what are we to make of the more than 2300 shows the Grateful Dead accumulated in the thirty years between 1965 and 1995? Or the many additional tour dates in the ensuing two decades involving the core Dead alumni — all four playing together, in smaller subsets or as leaders of their own bands? How far beyond impossible can you go?

Grateful Dead, 1960s

The rapidly approaching 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead seems an apt occasion upon which to consider that question. Because while Robbie Robertson's tolerance for touring may have been of shorter duration than that of some of his peers, he did have a point: life on the road, like life itself, must at some point come to an end. The trick is in figuring out just how closely you want the former of those endings to coincide with the latter. To be sure, many musicians have opted — whether out of economic necessity, a continued taste for the touring life or a bit of each — to stay on the road right up to their last breath. When asked if he planned to retire, jazz icon Duke Ellington, then in his 70s, famously posed a question of his own: "Retire to what?"

But there are alternatives to full-on retirement, and calling quits to a traveling life is by no means synonymous with retreat from a full and satisfying creative one. The question "Is there life after The Road?" is one that seems to be on the minds of a lot of people in Dead World these days, from the band members themselves to many in the ever-nomadic tribe of Dead Heads. Can the music and the community continue to prosper and grow, but without as much of the wear-and-tear? There are all sorts of signs that the answer, in the immediate future and beyond, will be a resounding "YES!"

• • •

Phil Lesh

Late last year, as Phil Lesh and Bob Weir's collaborative project Furthur prepared to wind up four busy and successful years of touring, finishing with a series of shows in Mexico this past January, Phil made the momentous announcement that he was getting "off the bus." No, not the figurative bus we've all been on these many years — once you're on that bus, you're on it for life — but the literal one: the kind of bus that musicians ride over hundreds of overnight miles from one gig to the next. In announcing his retirement from that aspect of his career, Phil made it abundantly clear that he fully intends to continue making music — in fact, it appears likely, more music than ever, both at his Marin County home base, Terrapin Crossroads, and through an innovative agreement with music impresario Peter Shapiro, in which various Phil Lesh and Friends lineups would play more than forty shows in 2014 for Shapiro, primarily through multi-night residencies at the hallowed Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, with additional dates at venues in the expanding Brooklyn Bowl empire (new venues in London and Las Vegas joined the flagship in Brooklyn this year, with a Chicago branch currently in the works), plus selected appearances at festivals and special one-off events. Between Terrapin and the shows done under the arrangement with Shapiro, Phil's been having one of his busiest and most productive years ever, but without a lot of the exhausting rigors of getting from gig to gig.

Phil Lesh & Friends at Lockn’ Festival, Arrington, Va, 9/5/14, Photo: Jay Blakesberg

At Terrapin Crossroads, his residencies at the Capitol and his shows at the various Brooklyn Bowls, at New York's Central Park, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the second annual Lockn' Festival and elsewhere, Phil has continued to play a joyous game of mix-and-match with his lineups of Friends, bringing in an ever-changing combination of longtime musical partners, relative newcomers and first-timers, including to name just a few: Joe Russo, Warren Haynes, John Scofield, Tony Leone, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, John Kadlecik, Ross James, Jeff Chimenti, Nels Cline, Marco Benevento, Jason Crosby, Luther Dickenson, John Medeski, Anders Osborne and others, plus Phil's sons Grahame and Brian. Just after our deadline but by the time you read this, there will have been a reunion of the longest-running Phil & Friends configuration (aka the PLQ) with Warren Haynes, Jimmy Herring, Rob Barraco and John Molo, for a single show at the historic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in New York (site of legendary performances by the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and many more in the 1960s and 70s).

Keep up with Phil at www.phillesh.net.

Mickey Hart

Mickey Hart, after an action-packed 2013 which saw him touring extensively with his own excellent band, kept a much lower public profile this past year, but was no less immersed in numerous projects, especially as pertains to his ongoing exploration of the convergence of music, science, medicine and other seemingly disparate disciplines. He's been especially preoccupied of late with the study of the beneficial effects of music on the brain, continuing work he undertook some two decades ago with the pioneering neurologist and author, Oliver Sacks, focused on the ways music and rhythm can aid in the treatment of cognitive disorders, particularly those related to aging. In last year's Almanac we told you of ways in which Mickey has advanced that work with the assistance of amazing new technologies that track brain activity and make it visible through 3-D imaging. This past spring, he took the adventure to heady new heights, with a stunning demonstration, at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference, of a new product called Neuro Drummer, described as "a custom-designed rhythm training game directed at enhancing rhythmic abilities and assessing the impact of cognition," which for this event was augmented by an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and an electrode-covered cap of the sort Mickey used on tour last year, which tracks his brain activity and converts it, through software designed by UC San Francisco neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley into gorgeous visuals projected on a large screen, along with content generated by the rhythm game, as Mickey played. In addition to looking like a hell of a lot of fun, Neuro Drummer and other games like it have proven effective in training the brain to be more agile, responsive and creative. Watch for more developments in this fascinating new field in the coming year, and for Mickey to stay right on the leading edge. To learn more, visit www.mickeyhart.net, or the site for Hart and Gazzaley's Rhythm and the Brain project: http://gazzaleylab.ucsf.edu/gazzaley-hart-collaboration.html.

This is Mickey’s Brain on drums. GPU Technology Conference, 3/27/14, Photo: Dean Takahashi/VentureBeat

Mickey wasn't about to let the whole year pass, however, without getting out and making some music in front of live audiences at two major festivals. The first of these was the 2014 edition of Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN, where Mickey took part in the annual "Superjam" performance, this year featuring a crazily eclectic cast of characters including Skrillex, Big Gigantic, Lauryn Hill, Mystikal, Janelle Monae, Robby Krieger, Damian Marley, members of Umphrey's McGee, Incubus and many others, covering a repertoire that ranged from James Brown to David Bowie to Bill Withers… and of course some good ol' Grateful Dead, in the form of a spirited rendition of "Fire On The Mountain."

Mickey was back onstage a little over a month later, this time reunited with his Rhythm Devil brother Bill Kreutzmann, in a two-gig collaboration with psychedelic jam-masters The Disco Biscuits: a warmup show in Washington, DC, followed by a late-night headlining set at the Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, CT. The power of the groove that ensues anytime Mickey and Bill get together was undiminished as the band (Rhythm Biscuits? Disco Devils?) delivered a powerful set generously stocked with Grateful Dead classics, including "I Know You Rider," "Shakedown Street," "Eyes Of The World," "Viola Lee Blues" and more.

Rhythm Devils Meet Disco Biscuits, Gathering of the Vibes, Bridgeport, CT, 8/2/14, Photo: Jay Blakesberg

• • •

Bill Kreutzmann

Speaking of Bill Kreutzmann: in our last issue we reported that Bill had been out of musical commission for a while, recovering from a severe bout with tendinitis in his elbow. We're happy to report that he's fully recovered and back to full playing strength, although he embraces the "life after the road" idea. "I just don’t need need to tour anymore and do bunches and bunches of shows," Bill told the Almanac. "It doesn’t keep it fresh for me. But I like doing special events." In that spirit, Bill eased back into playing this year with several such special appearances, starting with a couple of gigs during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: a club date with Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett of Little Feat (they called the ensemble — what else? — Dead Feat), also featuring Anders Osborne, Billy Iuso and Carl Dufrene; and a remarkable event at the Saenger Theater paying tribute to native son and national treasure Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John, the Night Tripper, and featuring an astonishing cast including Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, Widespread Panic, Warren Haynes, Allen Toussaint and many others… plus, of course, the good Doctor himself.

Bill Kreutzmann’s Locknstep Allstars, rehearsal with Taj Mahal and Papa Mali, Lockn’ Festival, Arrington, VA, 9/5/14, Photo: Jay Blakesberg

Shortly after the previously mentioned Disco Biscuits collaborations in DC and Bridgeport, Kreutzmann got an unexpected invitation to put together a spur-of-the-moment combo to play the Lockn' Festival, in part to fill a gap left in the lineup when Bob Weir cancelled his appearance (more about that in a moment). And so, Bill Kreutzmann's Locknstep Allstars were born — a wonderfully spontaneous coalition of old and new friends, including players from a younger generation deeply influenced by the Grateful Dead and some longtime colleagues in the mix as well. The core band included Aron Magner (of the Disco Biscuits, whose acquaintance Bill had made just weeks before at those collaborative gigs), Tom Hamilton (from American Babies and Joe Russo's Almost Dead), Steve Kimock and Oteil Burbridge (with Kreutzmann dubbing the ensemble "Billy and the Kids"). Joining in for a few tunes each were the great Taj Mahal, Keller Williams and Papa Mali. And in one of the evening's highlights, a Kreutzmann drum solo magically turned into a trio when, from the festival's adjacent other stage, String Cheese Incident drummer and percussionist Michael Travis and Jason Hann (who perform as EOTO), joined in.

In recent weeks, Bill has had a flurry of public appearances. In light of all the sudden activity, Kreutzmann has become increasingly active on his Facebook page - he surprised the entire Grateful Dead community, in the best way possible, with the following status update: "Music is an adventure. Jams are a journey. And my new band, Billy and the Kids, will take you there." The core band, as introduced by Kreutzmann, will feature keyboardist Aron Magner (the Disco Biscuits), guitarist Tom Hamilton (American Babies), and bassist Reed Mathis (TLG).

Billy and the Kids will make their official debut at the Warren Haynes' Christmas Jam in Asheville, NC on Saturday, December 13. There's been no word yet about an anticipated tour, but rumors about certain dates have been popping up.

We are also pleased to have the honor of unveiling the cover art of Bill's memoirs, Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams, and Drugs with the Grateful Dead, right here in this very almanac. The book will be released on May 5, 2015 (St. Martins) in celebration of the Grateful Dead's 50th and if you are one of the first to get it from Dead.net, you'll get a signed poster to boot.

Like Phil Lesh and Bob Weir have done with Terrapin Crossroads and TRI Studios, respectively, Bill is going full speed ahead with plans to build a music space of his own at his home on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. As he told us when we caught up at Lockn', he wants to have a space where he can play host to all sorts of musicians: "We have a giant building and we can put music in there, and also have an outdoor venue because it’s Hawaii. We have a commercial kitchen and we’re going to do farm-to-table dinners and music. And I know a lot of musicians love coming over there. Kauai is kind of a magnet. We can play as much or as little as we want. I don’t want to go on tours anymore, but I play like crazy at home, like Phil does. I do the same thing in Hawaii. You have to find a new form. That’s what I’m doing. That’s what we’re all doing. But I like doing these festivals. One thing I love about them is that I get to see all these musicians that I never hear, hardly. At the Dr. John tribute in New Orleans, I’m standing in the lobby and Allen Toussaint walks in. And then I see Jimmy Herring; and the drummer from the Meters, Zig Modeliste. I love that interaction. That’s the highest part of music for me… when people break out of their band structure and get together with other people." That said, Bill expresses a strong hope that the remaining members of the Grateful Dead will convene to celebrate the 50th Anniversary.

• • •

Bob Weir

Of all the members of the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir has historically been the one most unceasingly committed to life on the road, a life he's lived since he was still in his teens in the mid-1960s. In addition to playing with the Dead for every one of those 2300-plus shows, he found time for such side projects as Kingfish, the Bob Weir Band, Bobby and the Midnites, his long-running duo with Rob Wasserman, and Ratdog. When the Grateful Dead disbanded after Jerry Garcia's passing, he kept right on going with RatDog, the Other Ones, The Dead, Furthur, solo acoustic tours and various collaborations, seldom stopping for any extended period of time… until this year, when Bob came to the eminently sensible conclusion that some extended time off was needed. He called off all remaining tour and festival dates with and without RatDog for 2014 and into early 2015. We wish Bob a full and well-deserved rest, and fully expect that he will be back, batteries recharged and at the peak of his creative energies, before too long.

Bob Weir performs onstage at 'The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir' Concert during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 23, 2014 in New York City.

Before Bobby took that break, he did have an active first half of 2014, starting with Furthur's last pre-hiatus shows in Mexico, followed by a very successful late winter/early spring tour with RatDog, and the premiere of the long-awaited documentary The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir, which had very successful screenings at the Tribeca and San Francisco film festivals (with Bob playing brief acoustic sets at each). The film, directed by Mike Fleiss, is a fascinating portrait of an equally fascinating life, following Bob from childhood through his early interest in folk music, his life-altering first encounter with Jerry Garcia, his mind-altering time spent with Ken Kesey, Neal Cassady and the rest of the Merry Pranksters, and the epic journey of the Grateful Dead from electrified blues/folk band playing in pizza parlors and strip joints to cult favorites to one of the biggest touring acts of all time. The story is told with lots of great archival footage, some never before seen, plus recent interviews with Bob and many of his closest friends and colleagues. It's a film deserving of a wider audience, and we hope you'll get to see it soon.

• • •

In other Dead World news...

Robert Hunter

As we neared our publication date last year, Robert Hunter was embarking on his first tour as a performer in a decade. Hunter had endured some life-threatening health issues in recent years, and the experience helped him realize, among other things, how much he valued singing and playing for people. He took a tentative step back onto the road last fall to see if he had the stamina, and to test the response of the audiences. In both cases, the results were hugely positive, so more dates were added this year, with yet more, it is hoped, to come. Stay tuned to www.roberthunter.org for news.

Donna Jean Godchaux

The Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson released a new album called Back Around on Heart of Gold Records, and it's a beauty, blending Donna's Muscle Shoals Roots with a bit of that Grateful Dead flava. To check out the music and stay up to date on upcoming shows and other plans, drop by www.http://donnajeangodchauxband.info.

• • •

Jerry Garcia

The official Jerry Garcia website went through a major renovation and emerged with a great new look, and an enormous amount of new content, including a year-by-year timeline of Jerry's life and musical career, a gallery of his guitars, never-before-seen photos and video clips and, of course, lots of glorious music. Pay a visit to www.jerrygarcia.com.

• • •

We've talked a lot in this Almanac about the inevitability of the Grateful Dead's longtime members spending less time on the road. But bear in mind that the really important part of all this — the music — will never stop traveling. It will travel wherever Dead Heads gather, in homes, at parties, as a companion on a long drive, or at special events like the Grateful Dead Meet Up At The Movies. It will travel in the form of recordings, whether official archival releases from the Grateful Dead vault, or audience-made recordings traded among fans (the old-school way via physical trading or, with increasing frequency, acquired with the speed of a computer keystroke from sites like archive.org). The music will always be heard live, played by young bands brought together by a shared love for the Dead; it will travel with fans that followed the band from way back in the 60s or the 70s or the 80s, or got on the bus close to the end; it will find new listeners among those too young to have ever seen a live Grateful Dead show, but came to love the music through the later efforts of the band members. It might well even be loved by Dead Heads not yet born. We trust you will carry the music wherever you go and share it generously.

And by the time we meet again in this virtual neighborhood, we will have observed the 50th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead. In fact, we are already well into the fiftieth year, since the band's beginning, which most Deadologists carbon-date as having occurred on June 18th, 1965 — Phil Lesh's first show with the Warlocks at a dive called Frenchy's in Hayward, CA, thus completing the core lineup. We do not yet know the exact form the commemoration of this auspicious anniversary will take, but this remarkable journey is something worth celebrating, and celebrate we will.

Thank you, and stay in touch!

Comix

Tennessee Jed

Listen To Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo:

Music

Announcing Dave’s Picks 2015 Subscriptions And Dave’s Picks Vol. 13

(Dave's Picks 2014 Subscription set with bonus disc shown)

If you’ve been following the Grateful Dead’s archival music release activities since 2012, which we expect you have, you’re no doubt aware that the Dave’s Picks series, which debuts limited-edition numbered releases four times a year, has become one of the most consistently interesting and highly anticipated offerings from the Dead’s vault. In 2012, we offered 12,000 of each release for sale, and we’ve been increasing that number every year, with 2015 being no different. Due to high demand in the band’s 50th anniversary year, we’ll be increasing the 2015 Dave’s Picks production run to 16,500 of each of the four releases, but as with Volumes 1-12, we expect all of the four Dave’s Picks in 2015 to sell out quickly; some of the releases in 2014 sold out in less than 24 hours! The only way to make sure you get all four is to subscribe to the 2015 collection, featuring Volumes 13-16, to be released in February, May, August and November of 2015. In addition to the four CD releases in 2015, totaling 12 CDs, you’ll also get the subscription-exclusive bonus disc, which has proven to be one of the most highly-sought collectables we’ve ever released and free domestic shipping. Past subscriber bonus discs have included 7/29/74, 12/21/69 and 12/11/69, and although we’ve just started planning for the 2015 subscribers’ bonus disc, we have some great things in mind, featuring excellent music from the vault that will not be released outside of this offer.

And as a tantalizing tease, we're pleased to announce that Dave's Picks Vol. 13 is the complete show from February 24, 1974 at Winterland in San Francisco. This show has widely, and for a very, very long time been considered one of the very finest Dead shows from the majestic 1973-1974 era. Featuring a pre-cursor to the Wall Of Sound, which would be debuted a month later at the Cow Palace, this Winterland show has long been requested for release. Our apologies for the delay, but we're sure you're going to love the results. As for what’s to come after Dave's Picks Vol. 13, we've not yet chosen our next release, but rest assured we're working hard to select a great show to add to your collection. The only way to avoid disappointment and be guaranteed that you'll receive all four Dave's Picks in 2015 is to subscribe. And if you act now, you’ll also get in on the Early Bird subscriber pricing of just $99.98. Talk about a perfect present for you and your favorite Dead Head guy or gal!

DAVE’S PICKS 2015 SUBSCRIPTION BENEFITS

• Four Limited Edition, Numbered Releases
• Delivered Quarterly
• Highly Collectible Bonus Disc
• Free Domestic Shipping
• Early Bird Pricing - $99.98
• A savings of $27.94 over purchasing a la carte

Get one and gift one here!

Talkin’ About Spring 1990 (The Other One) and Wake Up To Find Out

Outside of our Dave’s Picks series, the big news in 2014 on the Grateful Dead archival front was the production and release of the 23-CD Spring 1990 (The Other One) box set, featuring eight complete shows from the majestic Spring Tour of 1990. Jeffrey Norman spent five months at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios in Marin County, California, mixing the eight shows from the 24-track master analog tapes, and our good friend David Glasser mastered them in HDCD, creating one of the finest-sounding Grateful Dead archival releases ever. We’ve played plenty of samples of the box at dead.net and on the Sirius XM Grateful Dead channel, so you’ve no doubt had a chance to hear this stunning music. For those who haven’t yet made their purchase, there are still a few copies left, but it ought to sell out soon. Fence sitters, you’ve been warned: this will be only be available for a little while longer, so if you’re thinking of picking it up, do it now. For those who purchased the first Spring 1990 box in 2012, this one is every bit its equal, and might even surpass the first based on show quality, sound quality, and packaging. The Rhino team made sure this box would look and feel as good as the first box, and we’re sure you’ll agree when you lay your hands on it. Each box is individually numbered out of 9,000. Again, when these boxes are sold out, they’ll be gone for good, so get one while you still can.

If 23 CDs from the Spring Tour of 1990 isn’t your thing (who are you?!?), we’ve released the famous Branford Marsalis show from 3/29/90 at Nassau Coliseum on its own, in a special 3-CD complete show set, Wake Up To Find Out. Branford sat in for “Bird Song” in the first set, and the entire second set aside from “Drums,” and his additions to the sound were both inspired and inspiring. This show has long been one of the most-requested shows in Grateful Dead history, so, 24 years later, we’re pleased to finally be making it available in its entirety, mixed from the master 24-track tapes. Although we strongly encourage you to pick up the entire Spring 1990 (The Other One) box set, we wanted to make sure this exceptional and important show was available to everyone.

Record Store Day and Black Friday 2014

Support your local independent record store! We do, and that’s why we’ve been producing two very special music releases every year to be sold exclusively at our local stores. We always choose something that’s musically great, but we also aim for unique and interesting material. On Record Store Day back in April, we released everything we had in the vault from 5/4/79 in Hampton, VA, which was Brent Mydland’s third shows with the Dead, and the band’s first trip to the Hampton Coliseum. For Black Friday’s special release in November, we have the bulk of the second set from 11/18/72 in Houston, TX. Our vault’s master tape of this show has first set issues that would prevent the release of this concert in its entirety, so we’ve decided that rather than let this exceptional second set sit on the shelves, we’d release it this way. And what a batch of music!

If you picked up Dave’s Picks Vol. 11, one of the most highly-acclaimed in the series thus far, you know this era very well, as DP 11 was recorded the previous night, on 11/17/72 in Wichita, KS. The Houston, TX 11/18/72 show that makes up our Black Friday offering is every bit the equal of the Wichita show, and the big second set jam from Houston, made up of a 25 minute “Playing In The Band,” is perhaps a shade more powerful than the massive “Other One” from Wichita. We’ve long wanted to get this out, and now’s the time.

Please do try to go out on Black Friday to support your local record store, and pick up some incredible music while you’re at it. Our Record Store Day and Black Friday releases tend to be in very high demand, and they’re pretty cool, so do check it out. This is limited to 7200 units on vinyl, and our previous vinyl releases like this have proven to be big collectables. For those of you without turntables (how are you going to hear “Hoyt Axton Explodes!” if you don’t have a turntable?!), we’re releasing this set as a single CD available at dead.net. But, it’s way cooler on vinyl, owing in large part to the excellent new cover art by our good friend Gary Houston. There’s nothing like a gatefold album with great art, and this fits the bill on that front.

Digital Dead

As you’ve likely noticed, we’re slowly but very surely making Grateful Dead music offerings available as high resolution digital downloads. Our focus to get the ball rolling has been out-of-print archival releases, and thus far we’ve made the first Spring 1990 box set (not the new one, but, you know, the other one…), the 14-CD May 1977 box set, and all of the Road Trips releases. These are not merely CD rips, but are from the high resolution production masters that Jeffrey Norman has produced, and we’re offering them as top-notch FLAC and ALAC audio files. We’ve already re-mastered all of the Dead’s studio albums in high resolution and are offering them in 24/192 and 24/96, and we’re embarking on a journey to get the Dead’s archival releases available at high quality.

What's In Store For You

New - Gifts, Apparel & Merch

In the Community

Dead Covers Project

Each year you surprise us with mighty fine DEAD COVERS PROJECT submissions from here, there, and everywhere. This year was no different, the sights and sounds of Dead Heads doin' that rag warmed away those winter blues. We intend to carry on this new tradition come February, so while you've got your kinfolk gathered 'round for the holidays, set up the old video recorder (or the new-fangled high-tech phone) and put your favorite Dead ditty down for posterity. Stay tuned for more details on how to deliver your rendition to the Dead-o-sphere come January. In the meantime you can get to know a few of this past year's favorites with a round-up of our DEAD COVERS PROJECT profiles.

Acoustics Anonymous

Five friends brought together by a love of picking, singing and grinning, Acoustics Anonymous bridges the gap between groove and grass. Injecting gravity and soul into whatever they play, and coating it all with a shimmering layer of harmonies, the music can at one moment be raucous and at the next hushed. Learn more about the St.Louis-based quintet here.

The South

The Grateful Dead have reached Trondheim, Norway! Find out just how sextet The South are spreading their love of the Dead all over Scandinavia.

Three Sound

Virginia-based Threesound brought the house party down (quite literally) with their youthful take on "Franklin's Tower." But their roots in jazz, funk, jam, dance and beyond spell more than just fun. Get to know these college kids on the brink of something bigger right here...

Noura Al-Mat

Noura Al-Mat won us all over with her lo-fi rendition of "Ramble On Rose." Turns out, she's got more than a few Grateful Dead favorites. Find out what being a Dead Head means to the multi-instrumentalist and listen to her other classic covers here.

All In The Family

They say you can't pick your family but you CAN pick your Grateful Dead family. Ours is made up of a colorful cast of characters who help us bring you the very best experiences, release-wise. Check out the profiles on some of the artists (and a director!) who made this year's offerings look as good as they sound.

Tony Millionaire

We've always been fascinated by American cartoonist, illustrator and author Tony Millionaire's infamous character Drinky Crow. Lo and behold, it turned out he's a big Grateful Dead fan too! (Insert light bulb) With great pleasure, we enlisted Mr. Millionaire to design the artwork for the 2014 Dave's Picks series. Find out how he planned to leave his indelible mark in the Dead world in our exclusive interview.

Kyle Field

We were proud to add acclaimed visual artist Kyle Field to the list of gifted folks who work so hard to carry on the spirit of the Grateful Dead's iconic imagery - not to mention their musical legacy. Get to know the all around multi-talented fellow who designed the original artwork for Hampton '79 in an exclusive video and interview.

Justin Kreutzmann

Justin Kreutzmann was born into the highly creative if unconventional world of the Grateful Dead. So it comes as no surprise that when his dad gave him a Super-8 film camera back in 1977, his path was set for life. Find out more about Justin's work as a documentarian, what bands he'd love to work with, and of course, what life was like growing up Dead here.

Jessica Dessner

She may be best known as a dancer and a poet, but it was her artwork that first piqued our interest in Jessica Dessner. After seeing the covers she designed for critically acclaimed albums by Sufjan Stevens and The National, we called upon her to lend her talents to our Spring 1990 (The Other One) release. Find out how she's built a career based on creativity and how the Grateful Dead's iconic imagery inspires her here.

30 Days Of Dead

Who needs a miracle everyday? We sure do and we bet you could use one too!

Consider this our gift to you for being so darn loyal... Each day in November we will be giving away a high-quality 320Kbps MP3 download. That's 30 days of unreleased Grateful Dead tracks from the vault, selected by Dead archivist and producer David Lemieux! Intrigued? We're also going to put your knowledge to the test and give you the chance to win some sweet swag from the Dead.

Most of you know the drill by now, but for those, that don't, here's the deal:

You know your Ables from your Bakers from your C's, but can your finely tuned ears differentiate the cosmic "comeback" tour from a spacey 70's show? Each day we'll post a free download from one of the Dead's coveted shows. Will it be from that magical night at Madison Square Garden in '93 or from way back when they were just starting to warm it up at Winterland? Is that Pigpen's harmonica we hear? Brent on keys? Step right up and try your hand all November long and win prizes while you're at it.

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KeithFan2112's picture
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Joined: Aug 6 2014
Anyone Received Shipment?

Has anyone received their Dave's Picks 12 yet??? Please let it be as awesome as Volume 1 for F@#k's sake!

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Joined: Sep 15 2009
Sound Quality

Don't get me wrong. I have everything the Dead released (except the two Spring 90 boxes, too much money for a not so favorite era) and love it all. Listen to it all. Like my wife says "All you listen to is the Dead and you listen all the time!" I love the Winterland 73 shows. I actually had tickets to all three shows but gave them away because I had to study for a test on Monday. Boy if I had to do that over...well, that's another story. All I was saying as my collection grows I can start making decisions based on sound quality and I have been disappointed in some of the 73 releases.

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Joined: Aug 29 2013
To compare multitrack E'72

To compare multitrack E'72 and S'90 to 2-track '73/'74 is to compare apples to oranges. The Bettys from '77 are also probably the best sounding 2-track recordings ever made. After those, the soundboards we have from '72-'74 are right there.

The Winterland box from '73 in particular sounds AMAZING with the Plangent Process.

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Joined: Oct 3 2009
Every single one

of those "poor sounding" releases is an absolute treasure. To have not released one of them due to "sound quality" would have been a grotesque mistake. Thankfully, a wiser approach prevailed. We may hope that continues.

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Joined: Sep 15 2009
Sound Quality 1973-1974

I share Keithfans concern about the sound quality on the upcoming DaPick 13. As we amass more official releases we can be more choosy about which of those releases hit the "frequent rotation" pile based on sound quality alone. All the shows are great so sound quality becomes increasingly important. I think a lot of the 73-74 releases sound quality leaves much to be desired. Everybody agrees the 74 Wall of Sound recording are problematic, but I don't think 73 is much better. The Winterland 73 box, the Denver Road Trips, and the Pauley Pavillion Dave Picks are very poor sounding compared to the E72, May 77, and SpringTOO recordings. Fingers crossed. Sound quality matters.

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Joined: Sep 29 2014
Skwim

I like your thinking w/ 11/7, which would make a nice companion to the partial show presented in what I consider one the least talked about GREAT DiPs, that being #1 from 10/31...also, while we're floating in Never, Never Land, let me also suggest a few other monster standouts b/w Halloween '71 and the end of the year: 11/14, 11/15, and - most especially - 12/5.

As far as your lament, think of it this way: Though we've lost another potential Winterland box, we're getting that run's shining star, which frees up the opportunity for 2 other boxes - Summer and/or Fall '73 and a blockbuster Orpheum 76 set that, regardless of any other shows, must at a minimum contain 7/12 (w/ soundcheck) and 7/18...aaaaaand then, like Orbital Sciences' Cygnus, I come crashing back to earth before I've even begun...Dave, we need successful lift-off on these reccos! :)) K

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Joined: Apr 30 2014
Most happy to be on the bus

Signed up within the hour of being announced for 2015 subscription and very glad I did. 2014 script was incredible. This has been one of the best years I have ever had musically. This band is such a great musical entity. It may have taken over 50 years for me to get onboard, but now that Im here, I aint leavin! Its like trying to get to the beach to see the sun come up over the water and being stuck in traffic, worried youre not gonna make it. Then you get to the shore and pick a spot and get everything just exactly perfect, and then it happens. And you made it just in time! Sunrise.

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Joined: Feb 17 2008
DP13 OK but...

Glad to see this date get the treatment but I was kind of hoping for a box of the three Winterland dates. Picky I know, but still. Once again a few suggestions for future releases. 11/7/71. Yeah, everybody has it but not in the pristine quality that apparently exists as evidenced by the "Dark Star" included in the Tapers Section a few years ago. 5-20-73 might be another worthy candidate depending on what quality is available. The Truckin' > Other One > Eyes > Stella Blue is spectacular. Endeavor to persevere.

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Joined: Jan 24 2011
RSD file transfers

Hi Chriss,

I wish I could help. I'm hoping to get what I need to transfer my LPs to digital next year.

By the way, you don't need HiRes digital files for this because of the dynamic range limitation of LP's. Typically the dynamic range of the masters has to be compressed to about the equivalent of what an 11-bit file would have when transferring to the LP medium, so even if they figured out how to get a little more range between loud and soft you wouldn't need more than 12. A regular 16 bit file then already has way way more dynamic range than what you're recording from. As far as sampling rate, frequency response is limited by the sampling rate. A 44.1khz sampling rate is capable of encoding frequencies from 20hz to 22khz. The digital to analog converter is capable of reproducing the original sound wave with 100% accuracy (literally) any frequencies within that range. Frequencies outside that range are inaudible unless you're an infant or a dog. So a regular 16/44.1 file will be audibly indistinguishable from a 24/96 or 24/192 file from an LP (and really everything else also.)

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Joined: Aug 3 2008
Hi-Res Transfers

Could someone with a decent turntable please digitally record in hi-res all of the RSD albums and post them somewhere? That would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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