Almanac 2020

Dead World Round-Up
By Jesse Jarnow with Gary Lambert

Grateful Dead

Photo by Chris Walter. The Grateful Dead, 1970 (clockwise): Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Mickey Hart and Jerry Garcia during the Music File Photos, United Kingdom.s

It’s safe to say this isn’t the weirdness any of us were planning for, but it’s the weirdness that’s here. If there are any two things the members of the Grateful Dead can agree on, it’s to please wear a mask, and please please please go vote in November. Visit our friends at HeadCount for any info you might need.

If it was remarkable for the Dead Head community to survive and even flourish after the Grateful Dead themselves stopped touring, it’s just as remarkable to see it thrive in the absence of live music. Dead Heads were among the first to establish themselves online, as early as 1973, a bond that transcended whatever wires and mainframes were in the way. Since then, whenever communication technologies have shifted or new platforms launched, Dead Heads have been there to lay stakes and build someplace to hang out when not at shows.

So, while there was no tour this summer by Dead & Company, Bob Weir’s Wolf Bros., Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band, nor anybody else, Dead Heads could still be found en masse, coalescing on social media to hang out virtually during Friday evening Shakedown Streams, which featured incredible archival Dead videos and an all-star cast (see below), along with Weir Wednesdays with the Wolf Bros., Dead & Company’s One More Saturday Night shindigs, and any number of impromptu online hootenannies. And that’s not to account for the many other kinds of Dead Head energy manifesting in ways that don’t stem from the band’s activities at all, from rolling Twitter parties to podcasts, from socially distanced picking sessions to SiriusXM’s Tales From the Golden Road call-in show.

The adventures of the Grateful Dead in the 21st century have been longer and stranger and more tangled than anybody could possibly imagine, which has led to a bumper crop of articles pondering just why that continues to be, including recent entries from Variety and Uproxx. After GQ declared Weir a style icon last year, Men’s Health reported in detail on his workout routine. (Tell us we’re not living in an alternate timeline.) This non-local cross-generational exuberance, now five-and-a-half decades running, has many explanations. Most of them boil down to people really loving the Dead’s music in all its many-fanged glory and multi-colored forms. Somewhere, St. Dilbert is whistling.

Between the streams, there’s been an incredible palette of new old music to listen to (or is that old new music?) from the Dead themselves and a whole range of collaborators and conspirators. Archivist David Lemieux has been on a particular hot streak, pulling wonderful music from a vast range of eras. The latest limited edition Dave’s Picks set the time machine’s coordinates to shows from October of ’77, April of ’84, a pair of nights from the Wall of Sound era in ’74, and back-to-back Spring ‘87 gigs. (Don’t miss your chance to subscribe in time for next year’s series, see below!) The incredibly rich June 1976 boxed set focuses on the band’s first tour after returning from a 20-month road hiatus, while Ready Or Not draws on the last years of the band’s career, compiling stellar takes of the band’s last batch of original material intended for a never-finished studio album.

Maybe most exciting are the celebrations and reissues going on around the 50th anniversaries of the Dead’s landmark companion albums from 1970, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty. Each has received a glistening new mastering job by GRAMMY® Award winning engineer David Glasser and features tape restoration and speed correction by Plangent Processes. And comes with bonus material recorded on multi-track by Bob Matthews and Betty Cantor at the Capitol Theatre in 1971 and mixed down by Jeffrey Norman at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios. The February 18th, 1971 performance released with American Beauty has long been a Dead Head classic, with the debuts of many new songs, as well as collaborator Ned Lagin, playing much of the show on organ and clavichord. But even the most devoted Dead Freak tape trader has never heard it like this.

Along with the reissues, the Dead’s team of archivists has uncovered the long-lost session tapes known as The Angel’s Share, available online everywhere. Both The Angel’s Share: Workingman’s Dead and The Angel’s Share: American Beauty recover many hours of extraordinary never-heard recordings that offer windows into just how the Dead made their two classic 1970 albums. With co-producers Bob and Betty (on Workingman’s Dead) and Stephen Barncard (on American Beauty), it’s the Dead as you’ve absolutely never heard them, goofing around in the studio, developing arrangements, and getting down to the serious work of looking for magic.

Telling the story of it all is the new official Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast, launched over the summer and co-hosted by Rich Mahan along with your correspondent. During our first season, we went through Workingman’s Dead track by track, delving into each song’s roots and history, and side-tripping into adjacent storytelling with rare audio and interviews with co-producer Bob Matthews, David Nelson of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, tour manager Sam Cutler, Graham Nash, Rhoney Stanley, and many more. We also made bonus episodes focusing on Owsley Stanley and a special look into Jerry Garcia’s folk roots. This fall we’re even going wider and deeper with American Beauty, with guests Bobby “Ace” Weir (!!), co-producer Stephen Barncard, David Grisman and many of the album’s participants, plus Steve Silberman, Dead Head sociologist Rebecca Adams, and many surprises to come. Check it out wherever you get your podcasts.

Just like the members of the Dead kept (and keep) figuring out new ways to be the Dead, Dead Heads keep figuring out new ways to be Dead Heads, and new ways to find the others, as Timothy Leary once put it. And until people can safely hang out together again, the music remains a light to gather around. Did we mention to please wear a mask and vote? Not sure if we did. Please do.


Grateful Dead

Bob with Shakedown Stream Pre-Show hosts David Lemieux and Gary Lambert.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in this strangest of all years, it’s that it’ll take a lot more than a global pandemic and confinement to home to break up something as enduring and resilient as the Dead Head community. Since this lockdown began last March, that community has shown enormous resolve and ingenuity to stay connected in the absence of opportunities to gather in person, from impromptu Zoom dance parties to socially-distanced musical performances accessed online, and much more. One of the most popular and heartwarming ways of bringing the family together was a series of weekly webcasts of vintage Grateful Dead concert videos, appropriately titled Shakedown Stream. Every Friday night from early April into August (with the exception of one week off and one show that aired on a Thursday) the Grateful Dead team at Rhino Records – working mostly under less-than-ideal conditions from their homes – selected musical and visual treasures from the Vault (some familiar titles previously released, but a good many others never before seen by the general public), and made them available for live streaming or after-the-fact viewing via YouTube, with viewers encouraged to donate to a variety of good causes. Before each concert video came a pre-show anchored by Grateful Dead archivist/legacy manager David Lemieux and longtime Dead associate and SiriusXM Radio host Gary Lambert, each broadcasting from his own home (with Gary usually seated on a couch that became something of an internet celebrity in its own right). After a debut show featuring a pre-recorded greeting by Mickey Hart, each subsequent episode featured a live guest, chatting with David and Gary, speaking in support of the week’s designated charitable organization and answering questions submitted by viewers. In the early weeks, most of the philanthropic outreach was geared toward helping those directly affected, whether medically, financially or both, by the COVID-19 crisis (and particularly those in the music community facing those challenges). But as the state of quarantine went on with no certain resolution in sight, new issues and concerns came to the fore, and the focus of the giving broadened, as did the dialogue with the guests, covering topics ranging from racial justice and educational endeavors to voter registration and voting rights. As has always been the case, the generosity of the Dead Head community was extraordinary and inspiring, with donations of close to a quarter of a million dollars raised over the course of 18 webcasts.


MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund • Feeding America/Bike For Humanity • Sweet Relief Musicians Fund • PBS Foundation • Ellis Marsalis Center for Music • Rex Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund • ACLU Solidarity Fund • NAACP Legal Defense Fund • Neal Casal Music Foundation • HeadCount Democracy Fund • National Independent Venue Association/#Save Our Stages

Thanks and love to our fantastic guests (in order of appearance): Mickey Hart (recorded greeting) • Bill Walton • Jesse Jarnow • Donna Jean Godchaux • Bob Weir • Branford Marsalis • Sam Cutler • Dennis McNally • Oteil Burbridge • Bruce Hornsby • Dave Schools & Adam MacDougall • Big Steve Parish • John Mayer • Jeff Chimenti • David Crosby • Mickey Hart (LIVE this time!) • Bob Weir (again!) • Ken Babbs and Sue Kesey

Enormous gratitude is also due to all who watched, submitted questions and, above all, donated so generously. As the old Grateful Dead hotline used to say: Thank you and stay in touch!

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia liked to keep busy when he wasn’t playing with the Grateful Dead. He once succeeded in taking three weeks off in the spring of 1980. “I’ll never do it again,” he swore. His music continues to follow the same course.

In lieu of in-person events, this year saw Daze Between, an eight-day streaming celebration of Jerry Garcia’s legacy presented by the Rex Foundation, stretching between his August 1st birthday and the 25th anniversary of his passing on August 9th. It featured a diverse range of participants and approaches with a full slate of performances, storytelling, panel discussions, late night jams, movie screenings, and fundraising; a full-on homegrown music festival.

While we’re on the topic of homegrown, up on the horizon, too, is the Jerry Garcia Cannabis Collection, which we’re confident will pair well with any (or all) of the recent, previous, or forthcoming archival releases featured in this edition of the Almanac. The Garciaverse has widened this year to include Tessamae’s Cosmic Jerry Sauce as well as a severely limited KEEN x Jerry Garcia collection of Jerry’s paintings applied to shoes, bags, and masks.

The newest entries in the Garcia solo discography--GarciaLive Volumes 12, 13, and 14, and a new box set from the Owsley Stanley Foundation--capture four very different musical spaces, each reminders of the in-the-moment richness of the Garciaverse. Just like the Grateful Dead changed every year in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, so did Garcia’s solo music.


Photo by Alvan Meyerowitz © Rock Out Books. Jerry with the New Riders Of The Purple Sage.

GarciaLive Volume 12: January 23rd, 1973 The Boarding House, a never-circulated show recorded in San Francisco represents the first released reels from vocalist Sarah Fulcher’s period performing with Garcia, Merl Saunders, and company. With the Texas-born Fulcher sometimes improvising whole verses, it was just another Tuesday in San Francisco with free flights to spare. GarciaLive Volume 14: January 27th, 1986 The Ritz captures Garcia’s developing solo acoustic repertoire in a duo show with John Kahn, as stark as a black-and-white film. By contrast, GarciaLive Volume 13: September 16, 1989 Poplar Creek Music Theatre is a big screen party with the Big Man, E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons, joining the Jerry Garcia Band. For a more sun-drenched LSD-meets-C&W vibe, there’s Dawn of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, a 5-CD set from the Owsley Stanley Foundation capturing the formative performances of New Riders featuring Garcia on pedal steel, and recorded by engineer and former LSD chemist Owsley Stanley.

Next up: For the Black Friday iteration of Record Store Day, is 4-LP edition of GarciaLive Volume 2: August 5th, 1990 Greek Theatre. And announced just as the Almanac is going to press is yet another different setting. GarciaLive Volume 15: May 21, 1971 Keystone Korner is one of the earliest recordings of Garcia with organist Merl Saunders, here playing without bassist John Kahn--or any bassist at all--as a traditional organ trio. The album also features the earliest live recording of Garcia with saxophonist Martin Fierro, who’d played with Garcia and Howard Wales, and would go on to join Garcia and Saunders in Legion of Mary. It also includes the only known version Jerry singing David Crosby’s “The Wall Song,” It’s a whole lotta Jerry.



Photo by Bob Minkin. Bob With Wolf Bros. at Sweetwater, 2/10/20.

While the Grateful Dead Almanac doesn’t have a sports section (yet), we’re inclined to say that keeping up with former Dead Ringers first baseman and Tamalpais Chiefs footballer Bob Weir might be tougher than an actual Olympic sport. And we only partly mean his jaw-dropping workout routine.

Preparing for another year with Dead & Company, the Wolf Bros., and whatever other musical trouble he could find, Weir has instead been ping-ponging around the virtual road. He’s popped up on a few podcasts and panels and singing the National Anthem at a NASCAR iRace, he’s performed solo on Instagram and dropped by the Shakedown Stream a few times. He’s also working on an opera, activism, gymming, and most assuredly voting.



Photo by Bob Minkin. Phil with Jerry's “Alligator” guitar, 3/1/20.

It hasn’t been an ideal year for Phil Lesh to celebrate his 80th birthday, though happy 80th, Phil! But as the Almanac was preparing to go to press, Phil made a triumphant return to Terrapin Crossroads, his San Rafael homebase. Phil’s pair of intimate performances in the Terrapin Crossroads Backyard--performing in a drumless quartet with his son Grahame and Stu Allen on guitars and Jason Crosby on keyboards--was welcome news from Marin County.



Photo by Bob Minkin. Mickey on stage with Dead & Company, Chase Center, San Francisco, 12/30/19.

We caught up recently with Mickey Hart who, in between dodging fires, has been playing The Beam more days than not, and finding new ways to be a locked-down Rhythm Devil. He says hello, and to vote!

“This is, of course, a different season. Not a touring season, but a composing and studio season, and a season to take a look at what you’re doing musically and where you want to go. “It’s been a season of drones for me. I’ve been working seriously with drones. I’m doing some with Deepak Chopra, working on drones with him. And I’m working on the next Planet Drum incarnation with Zakir Hussain. This has really been an adventure. We call it the Sonic Tonic Club. It’s the 181st meeting today. It’s a serious thing. The Sonic Tonic Club meets almost every day, and we exchange drones and work on material and just investigate the rhythm-scape and how we use spatial processing in the music, and just finding new spaces in music.

“The most exciting thing is to create something from nothing. I’ve actually been having a very fulfilling time composing-wise. I’m at it.”


Bill the Drummer would like you to vote!



Photo by Bob Minkin. Dead & Company, Chase Center, SF, 12/30/19.

Back in the fall of 2019 – seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? – as we were putting the finishing touches on the previous edition of the virtual Grateful Dead Almanac, the members of Dead & Company were looking forward, along with the rest of us, to finishing off the year on a high note and then moving on to a full slate of new musical adventures in 2020.

As we all know now, the 2020 part of the plan didn’t work out as any of us would have expected or hoped, but there are still some tales to be told about things the band was able to do in the months B.C. (Before Coronavirus) and the ways we’ve all stayed connected and helped one another cope in the period since.

Having completed a hugely successful 2019 Summer tour (acclaimed by many as their best yet), Dead & Company decided not to undertake a similarly arduous Autumnal trek, instead opting to close out the year with a series of shows fewer in quantity but of optimal quality, starting in mid-Autumn with 6 shows – split two apiece between three venues with revered roles in Grateful Dead history - then concluding in December with two-night runs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the latter culminating in the traditional New Year’s Eve revelry.

The first part of the plan, dubbed the “Fall Fun Run,” began with back-to-back shows at one of the most significant places in the Grateful Dead universe: in the heart of New York City, at the iconic Madison Square Garden. And, to make things even better, it all started on one of the most eagerly anticipated dates on the Dead Head social calendar, Halloween night. However, the festive mood had a certain solemn undercurrent about it this time, as this would be the first Dead & Company performance following the passing a few weeks earlier of an irreplaceable member of the family: longtime Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. It was expected that the band would pay appropriate tribute to our beloved bard. What they delivered was much more than just appropriate. To open the show in deeply moving fashion, core Grateful Dead alumni Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart took to the stage by themselves while their newer bandmates, John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge waited in the wings. With Bob on acoustic guitar, the trio launched into one of the most treasured of all the songs Hunter wrote with Jerry Garcia, “Ripple,” with images of Robert projected on the video screens flanking the stage, and the rest of the band joining them in mid-song. From that beautiful beginning, Dead & Company delivered two exquisitely paced sets in which every song had one important feature: lyrics by Robert Hunter. They allowed themselves a single departure from the evening’s theme only on the encore, Warren Zevon’s classic “Werewolves of London” (after all, it was Halloween. And we figure Hunter wouldn’t have minded the company).

One more thing worth noting: as the set break began at the show on the 31st , Mickey and Bill had a little Halloween treat in store – inviting Oteil Burbridge back onstage for a rare honor: a “horning” ceremony marking his induction into the brotherhood of Rhythm Devils. Taken completely by surprise, Oteil was presented with cape and devil-horned mask to make it official. Congratulations, Oteil!


Photo by Jay Blakesberg. The Rhythm Devils take on a third - Oteil Burbridge.

The second evening at the Garden featured a setlist drawn from a somewhat more diverse variety of sources (although Hunter works still comprised the majority of the selections), and the musical results were fully the equal of Night One, highlighted by two guest appearances – the first of many, we hope – by a new member of the extended family, the wonderful young singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers, who joined the band for “Friend Of The Devil” in the first set and on “The Weight” as part of a two-song encore.

After that auspicious start to the mini-tour, the caravan made the short hop out to Long Island to another familiar and friendly spot, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, site of 42 Grateful Dead shows between 1973 and 1994. Band and fans wasted no time making themselves right at home once yet again, and the high musical quality established at the Garden continued unabated, with two all-killer/no-filler setlists to keep those famously passionate New York-area Dead Heads very happy indeed.

From there it was about 400 miles down the Atlantic coast to conclude the Fall Fun Run at another beloved building: Virginia’s Hampton Coliseum, where the Grateful Dead logged 21 appearances from the late 1970s to the early 90s (perhaps the most memorable being two nights in 1989 when the Dead - to allay fears that the venue would be overwhelmed by too many people due to the massive surge in popularity triggered by the success of the album In The Dark and its hit single, “Touch of Grey” – were stealthily billed only as “Formerly The Warlocks,” with tickets made available just days in advance). Nicknamed “The Mothership” in honor of its striking late-1960s space-age exterior, Hampton provided just the right cozy atmosphere for a pair of excellent shows to bring Dead & Company’s brief East Coast swing to an appropriately stellar close.

After a break of a few weeks, it was time to do the good ol’ ring-out-the-old/ring-in-the-new thing, with four West Coast dates, starting in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood, at the venerable Forum – looking and sounding pretty spiffy after some renovations in recent years, and effectively rebuffing all preconceived notions that Southern California audiences might be “too laid back,” with wildly enthusiastic and energetic crowds packing the place and bringing the best out in the band on both nights.

And then home to the Bay Area, to close out the old year and usher in 2020 in a shiny new setting – Chase Center, a state-of-the-art arena on the San Francisco waterfront, opened last fall to serve as home to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Dead Heads had no trouble at all adapting to the swanky surroundings, with the new venue boasting plenty of room to roam and, best of all, excellent acoustics, especially for a building designed primarily for sports. The band seemed to like the new digs just fine as well, judging by the musical results on both nights, and especially New Year’s Eve – a marathon three-set affair topped off by one of the most spectacular renditions of the annual countdown ritual in recent memory. We note this with a special note of familial pride, as the midnight madness was conceived and directed by someone who quite literally grew up around the Grateful Dead: Reya Hart, daughter of Mickey and Caryl, a wonderfully creative young woman who came up with a brilliant concept perfectly attuned to the decade about to begin: The Roaring Twenties redux. As midnight approached, a model of a vintage biplane (bearing two more offspring of the GD family, Trixie Garcia and Sunshine Kesey) rose to the rafters and navigated a zig-zag course from the back of the hall toward the stage. While this was going on, the stage was occupied by a line of young women in 20s flapper garb, doing a snappily choreographed Charleston. As the plane descended, Father Time and the New Year’s baby (looking a whole lot like Bill Walton and Wavy Gravy), called out the countdown, the balloons dropped, and the band launched into “Sugar Magnolia” - the traditional choice for the occasion, being a favorite of the, late great impresario Bill Graham, who presided over so many New Year’s Eve extravaganzas (and who, we think, would have been proud to have come up with something as inspired as Reya’s vision for the midnight spectacle).


Photo by Jay Blakesberg. Dead & Company close out a night of "Playing In The Sand," Mexico, January 2020.

Having safely landed yet again in a new year, Dead & Company turned to a more recently established tradition: the third annual trip to the paradise-like setting of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for the extended beach party known as “Playing In The Sand” – three days of great music in breathtaking surroundings, right on the shore of the Caribbean. We mean, what’s not to like?

And then, it would be onward to another year of musical fun, with Summer tour and more on the horizon. Or so we thought. As we needn’t tell you, 2020 turned out very differently, for all of us.

As the live music industry – and the rest of the world – began to absorb the consequences of the worldwide pandemic, with no clear end in sight, the first disappointment was the news that Dead & Company’s scheduled appearance in early May at one of the world’s greatest musical gatherings, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, would not be happening (originally announced as a postponement until the Fall, but it soon became clear that this year’s Jazzfest would have to be canceled entirely). And then the already-announced Summer tour fell by the wayside, as it would for all traveling artists everywhere.

It should go without saying, for the sake of perspective, that the pandemic has had effects far more devastating than any of us missing a year’s worth of concerts. Lives and livelihoods have been lost, and we may be dealing with the consequences of that for a very long time. That said, we know the important role that the shared experience of live music plays in the lives of everyone in our community, and if there’s a silver lining here, perhaps some of it can be found in way the community has managed to maintain an ongoing connection to the music and the many friends made along the road. Dead & Company have tried to do their part in this process by staying in contact with the tribe in various ways, including the individual band members keeping active on various social media platforms, sending out greetings, bits of news, messages of support for various worthy causes and more (with a special emphasis in this election year on voter registration and voting rights, in conjunction with our good friends at The band also created “One More Saturday Night,” a weekly series of HD videocasts (we think you can guess on which night of the week!) of Dead & Company shows from recent tours.

Another effective remedy for the symptoms of quarantine cabin fever came in the form of ongoing releases in Dead & Company’s digital concert series – entire tours rolled out in installments on most major music streaming platforms and also made available as high quality downloads, tweaked into new heights of sonic splendor by the band’s resident audio wizards, Derek Featherstone and Ross Harris. 2020 has already seen the release of this year’s Playing In The Sand shows as well as the entire 2017 Summer Tour, with 2019 releases underway as of this writing.

Of course, all of this is merely the next best thing until whenever it is that we can all be physically together again, sharing the music and the joy in real time. Until then, stay safe and well. We’ll be right here.



Grateful Dead

Photo by Jay Blakesberg. Owsley Stanley.

The Owsley Stanley Foundation’s long-term preservation of Owsley Stanley’s sonic journals continued this year with a pair of beautiful-sounding new archival releases. The five-CD Dawn of the New Riders of the Purple Sage recovers a lost history of Jerry Garcia’s earliest side trip. Found in the Ozone captures the early years of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, featuring Bear’s spring 1970 tapes of sets from San Francisco’s Family Dog on the Great Highway. Lately the Foundation has begun to excavate Stanley’s recordings of the legendary Old and In the Way, and have more archival releases by a variety of artists that will soon be making their way to heady ears. Keep your ears to the ether!

Big Steve isn’t slowing down. With his own weekly Big Steve Hour on the SiriusXM Grateful Dead channel. And with Grizzly Peak, he’s now got his own strain of cannabis, too. Keep up with Steve Parish.


Grateful Dead

Photo by Jay Blakesberg. Oteil Burbridge.

Dead & Company’s bassist has a podcast, too, called Comes A Time. Co-hosted with comedian Mike Finoia, it has featured Weir and many more, opening up conversations that very much connect the Dead world to the present moment. The podcast mega-verse is one of the latest places that Dead Heads have occupied. Also worth checking is 36 From the Vault, which is high-stepping through the Dick’s Picks series, one by one.

Originally released by Jerry Garcia’s Round Records, Ned Lagin’s Seastones returns to vinyl in a new edition from Important Records with a completely different arrangement of beautiful moment-forms than the 1975 version, or even the 1990 CD iteration. With contributions from Garcia, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, David Crosby, Grace Slick, and others, the transitory music of Seastones is an organic biomusic trip for the body, head, and soul. Keep up with Ned, check out the expanded Seastones CDs as well as his latest music at

COMIC By Steve Vance



Welcome to the 10th year of the Dave's Picks series! We're amazed and humbled that this community of Dave's Picks fans keeps growing, and we just wanted to let you know how much we sincerely appreciate your support of and interest in the series. We started in 2012 with 12,000 of each release, and now we've more doubled that, with 25,000 in 2021. Wow! We keep working as hard as we possibly can to bring you the best, most exciting Grateful Dead shows in the vault. Our 2020 releases included music from 1977, 1974, 1984, and the latest, biggest release yet in the series, the two complete Hartford shows from 1987. Looking ahead, we've selected two exceptional, A+ Dead shows for Vol. 37 (more on that in the video below) and 38, as well as the Bonus Disc that will come with Vol. 38. Big year ahead! As we head into the 10th year of the series, there's no end in sight. We love what we do, and have loads of plans and ideas for the next few years. Onward to more great music!

David Lemieux
October 2020

Times may be trying but the music has never and will never stop! Keep the momentum going by doing the Dead all year long with a Dave's Picks 2021 subscription. We're taking the production run up one final time - to 25,000 - for each of the four Dave's Picks 2021 releases. We'll also be doing things a wee bit differently this year - subscribers will be the first to receive their Dave's Picks. A la carte sales will go up on street date (no more pre-orders) and if you don't subscribe - we highly encourage you to - you'll want to be ready and waiting because these releases sell out within hours. Hours - no hyperbole.

In addition to the four releases in 2021, totaling 12 CDs, you’ll also get the subscription exclusive bonus disc, which has proven to be one of the most highly sought-after collectables we release, and free domestic shipping. Subscriber bonus discs will not be released outside of this offer. Early bird subscribers can nab a sub at $99.98 (regular pricing will be $115.92).

Get one and gift one here!


Only way to please me...

We've come upon the last of limited-edition singles remastered on 7-inch colored vinyl and lest we leave one danglin', 2021 will see five releases. Each features newly commissioned artwork and will only be available at Missing a few from the series? Many are available a la carte in the store.

The first release, arriving March 1st, will be "Alabama Getaway"/"Far From Me." This limited edition reissue features remastered audio, edited by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Dave Glasser to reflect original single edits with original artwork by Gary Houston.

Other volumes to be released in 2021 include:

"Don’t Ease Me In"/"Far From Me"

"Touch Of Grey"/"My Brother Esau"

"Throwing Stones (Ashes Ashes)"/"Push Comes to Shove"

"Foolish Heart"/"We Can Run"

Get one and gift one here! SHOP THE SERIES

June 1976

The Grateful Dead announced that it would take an extended break from touring in 1974 when playing large venues with the fabled Wall of Sound PA system had become a physical and financial burden. Two long years later, the drought finally ended when the Dead returned to the road to continue its long, strange trip. The Wall of Sound and stadiums were out. Rented equipment and theaters were in. Mickey Hart was back and the repertoire was dramatically different. JUNE 1976 revisits this dynamic chapter in the Dead’s history with five previously unreleased shows from that hotly anticipated tour: Boston Music Hall, Boston MA (6/10/76 and 6/11/76); Beacon Theatre, New York, NY (6/14/76 and 6/15/76); and Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ (6/19/76).

The featured recordings were sourced from the master two-track tapes made by Betty CantorJackson, the band’s legendary live recording engineer for many years. They have been mastered in HDCD by Jeffrey Norman for extraordinary sound quality, with restoration and speed correction by Plangent Processes.

Less than 1,000 copies remain of the limited, numbered edition of 12,000. You can also get it as a hi-def digital download.

GET THE June 1976 15CD Boxed Set

Workingman's Dead (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

The first of two Grateful Dead records celebrating a 50th anniversary this year was WORKINGMAN'S DEAD. The seminal release was re-envisioned as a 3-CD set featuring the original album with newly remastered sound, plus an unreleased complete concert recorded on February 21, 1971 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. The show was mixed from the 16- track analog master tapes by Jeffrey Norman at Bob Weir’s Marin County TRI Studios and mastered by GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer, David Glasser, along with restoration and speed correction by Plangent Processes. 2/21/71 delivers a plethora of songs from both WORKINGMAN’S DEAD and the band’s follow-up album, AMERICAN BEAUTY. Some highlights include Weir’s moving vocal take on “Me and Bobby McGee,” Pigpen’s whiskey-seasoned growl on “Easy Wind” and a stellar run through “Uncle John’s Band” to close out the show. There's also a hi-res download available.


Workingman's Dead - The Angel's Share

It’s remarkable how the Grateful Dead’s legendary recording archive still has the capacity to completely surprise after so many years, but it certainly does. As it turns out, there has been an ace hiding up its sleeve for 50 years, just waiting for the perfect moment to play it.

Enter WORKINGMAN'S DEAD - THE ANGEL’S SHARE, a revelatory audio discovery of more than two-and-a-half hours of unreleased studio outtakes from the album’s recording sessions. Compiled from dozens of 16-track reels that were recently discovered in unlabeled boxes, the collection includes outtakes for every song on the album, which have been unheard since they left the studio over 50 years ago. Under the supervision of Grateful Dead legacy manager David Lemieux, engineer Brian Kehew and archivist Mike Johnson spent countless hours compiling and piecing these reels together to create the final opus.

The intimate recordings on THE ANGEL’S SHARE mystically transport listeners to Pacific High Recordings Studio in San Francisco during the album’s three-week-long sessions in February and March 1970. A mix of partial and complete takes, the in-studio performances are peppered with conversations that make it feel like you’re in the studio with the band: Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Bob Weir. Like a fly-on-the-studiowall, listeners can now get a view of the band’s process in the studio like never before. You can hear discussions of pacing and arrangements, “talkback” from the studio to the control room with the album’s producers, Bob Matthews and Betty Cantor-Jackson, and even the shuffling of feet on the studio floor.



The 50th anniversary celebrations continue with AMERICAN BEAUTY, the Dead's most lauded studio masterpiece. The 50th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION 3-CD set features the original album with newly remastered audio, plus one of the most requested archival recordings in the Dead's vault - the unreleased concert recorded on February 18, 1971 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. On stage that night, the Dead debuted a whole new batch of songs, five in all: “Wharf Rat,” “Playing In The Band,” “Bertha,” “Greatest Story Ever Told” and “Loser.” Fans were also treated to a few standbys from the previous decade, including “St. Stephen” and an inspired “Dark Star>Wharf Rat>Dark Star” jam. Notably, keyboardist Ned Lagin (who played piano on “Candyman” on American Beauty) sat in with the band for the show. It's all been mixed from the 16-track analog master tapes by Jeffrey Norman at Bob Weir’s Marin County TRI Studios and mastered by GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer David Glasser, with speed correction and tape restoration by Plangent Processes. How about that!

Top it off with a limited-edition picture disc featuring customized album artwork on each side of the LP.


American Beauty - The Angel’s Share

The musical distillers that recently uncorked WORKINGMAN’S DEAD: THE ANGEL’S SHARE have finished another batch of unreleased session recordings by the Grateful Dead. This time, the heavenly sonic elixir toasts the 50th anniversary of AMERICAN BEAUTY with over two hours - 56 tracks - of unreleased studio outtakes, demos, and alternate mixes. AMERICAN BEAUTY: THE ANGEL’S SHARE brings together never-before-heard studio recordings compiled from dozens of recently discovered 16-track reels. It includes multiple outtakes for several album tracks along with demos for every song on the album (except “Box Of Rain”) plus one for “To Lay Me Down,” which was later included on Jerry Garcia’s first solo album, Garcia. Like its predecessor, the latest incarnation of The Angel’s Share was made possible by the tireless work of engineer Brian Kehew and archivist Mike Johnson who – operating under the supervision of Grateful Dead legacy manager David Lemieux – spent countless hours compiling and piecing the reels together to create this revelatory experience.



We've got our chips cashed in and we've been doing time with Dead & Company's digital concert series. From Shoreline to Wrigley Field, the Bowl to the Garden, there's plenty of fine times to be had and more to come as we roll out a handful complete 2019 shows from here through the holidays. Live audio for these recordings was mixed and remastered by Dead & Company's Front of House Engineer, Derek Featherstone, and the band's Recording Engineer, Ross Harris.


In The Community


Socially Grateful

'Tis the season to be Grateful! Gussy up your social media for the holidays with one of our festive Grateful Dead designs. Simply download your selected art to your desktop and upload as your profile picture or animation.



You can get the full scoop on our SHAKEDOWN STREAM series and its interactive PRE-SHOW up above in the Dead World Roundup but we wanted to use this space to thank YOU for a real good time. Week in and week out, you rose up as a community and gave back to those who were suffering, to those who have been oppressed, and to those who hope to promote change and push things forward in the days to come. We couldn't be more proud to call each and every one of you part of the Grateful Dead family. We are truly touched.

Grateful Dead

Wanna relive some of the magic PRE-SHOW moments? Naturally, there's a playlist for that.



Good Ol' Grateful Deadcast

May the long strange trip continue across the pod! Gather round every Thursday as we tell the tales of Grateful Dead days of yore. Hosts Rich Mahan and Jesse Jarnow take the lead, picking up special guests from the Dead universe along the way. We've worked our way through WORKINGMAN'S DEAD track by track and currently find ourselves at the beginning of AMERICAN BEAUTY, and we've thrown in a couple of bonus episode, to boot.

We want to hear from you!

Whether you got on the bus back in '65 or you're just catchin' up with Dead & Company, tell us (briefly) about the magic moments, the tryin' times, anything the Grateful Dead helped see you through. You just might find your story on an upcoming episode of The Good Ol' Grateful Deadcast.



Dead Covers Project

This year you showed up in spades to give the songs of WORKINGMAN'S DEAD and AMERICAN BEAUTY your best shot. Next year, anything goes so over the holiday why not gather your Grateful tribe and do the ditties of the Dead?

Wanna join the fun? Here's what you'll need to know to get started.

Sound just like Jerry? In the Phil Zone? Feel the force of the Rhythm Devils? The 2020 Dead Covers Project wants you! Let your creativity flow, visually and vocally, and your Dead cover could be featured on during the month of February.

We'll be taking submissions as soon as January 1st but the holidays are a perfect time to get started. Simply upload your video to YouTube, tag it "DeadCoversProject," and we'll make it available to view on the band's official YouTube channel, in February.



2020 30 Days of Dead Cover Art

Based on the year we've just had, it's safe to say, we're all looking for a miracle every day! Well, we're here to grant that wish.

Each day in November we give away a high-quality 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.

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.