Almanac 2023

Dead World Round-Up
By Jesse Jarnow With Gary Lambert

Bill Monroe, whose band the Blue Grass Boys gave name to bluegrass music, really hated it when other people played bluegrass, at least at first. Though often discussed alongside other traditional styles of folk, bluegrass was a highly personal set of musical ideas that derived in large part from Monroe’s bands of the late 1940s and early 1950s. By the ‘60s, bluegrass had become a genre of its own, and there were venues, festivals, tape traders, publications, and whole scenes devoted to it. Monroe eventually accepted his place as an innovator, embracing a generation of younger players to carry the music into the future.

The Grateful Dead never exhibited any such trepidation about other artists drawing from their style, in part because they were too busy constantly redefining themselves over the three decades of their career to have any one style that might be appropriated. But besides that, set everything about bluegrass almost exactly 20 years into the future, change the hair styles and clothing and other details, and the story sounds mighty familiar. It offers a valuable way to think about how and why it is that the Grateful Dead continue to manifest as an expanded musical universe that still needs rounding-up, even if the Grateful Dead themselves haven’t existed in over a quarter-century.

It was 60 years ago next spring when Jerry Garcia and his friend Sandy Rothman departed Palo Alto in Garcia’s white Corvair with their instruments and a pair of reel-to-reel tape recorders. Their goals were modest: play music, see live music, collect recordings of live music, and also to join Bill Monroe’s band. Rothman actually succeeded at the last part, and Garcia might’ve if he’d been less shy. They both returned to California with bushels of live bluegrass tapes and a lifetime of musical friendships.

Within a year, Garcia had co-founded a band called the Warlocks. And while Bill Monroe might’ve had a hard time hearing the bluegrass if he’d stumbled into the Menlo Park pizza parlor called Magoo’s in the spring of 1965, he certainly couldn’t accuse the band of ripping him off. “Bluegrass is a conversational music,” Garcia would note at some point after the Warlocks transformed into the Grateful Dead. “The instruments kind of talk to each other. That was a model for how a band could work.” It was also a model for how music could spawn a community and that community could, in turn, sustain the music.

Grateful Dead

June 6, 1967 - Café Au Go Go, New York City - First time the Grateful Dead ever played in NYC © Ron Rakow//Retro Photo Archive

But while Bill Monroe chiseled bluegrass into something so fixed it could be mistaken for traditional, the Dead did the exact opposite. So it was that Dead music was part of the musical landscape this summer wherever you turned your ear. It could be heard on one final tour for Dead & Co., at shows by Bobby Weir’s Wolf Bros., Phil Lesh and Friends, and Bill the Drummer’s Billy & the Kids (see below for notes on all of those), but also in theaters, bars, summer sheds, backyards, porches, festivals, casual hangs between friends, and a number of recent Bob Dylan shows where he’s covered “Truckin’” and “Stella Blue” and “Brokedown Palace,” among others.

As the music continues to sail towards the next horizon in real-time, it also continues to provide new ways to reflect on the magic trick of how the Dead managed to create music that is both traditional and wide-open. For material evidence, there’s the recent Here Comes Sunshine box set (capturing a number of shows from the spring of 1973), the 50th anniversary edition of Wake of the Flood (with some wondrous never-heard solo demos by Jerry Garcia),a new collection of Angel’s Share outtakes (which will be aired in full on the anniversary of the album’s release on the Dead’s YouTube channel), and a new edition of the Playing In the Band applet to play with some of the isolated tracks for Wake of the Flood.

And for even more, there are the newest seasons of the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast, the band’s official podcast, hosted by Rich Mahan and me. In the spring, we marked the 50th anniversary of Pigpen’s passing with a two part episode presenting the most in-depth biography of Pig yet assembled, visiting his family’s archive and featuring unheard recordings. We commemorated the Watkins Glen Summer Jam with two part special, explored Garcia’s side projects, and are now midway through a dive into Wake of the Flood, with archival interviews, special guests, and surprises. You can read transcripts for many episodes, too.


“Hell, we’re just gettin’ started!” – Bobby Weir

We begin with that quote, dear friends and fellow Dead Heads, in the hope that it will lend some perspective and perhaps allay any fears for those who may have experienced some degree of regret, a sense of loss or just general confusion about the future when Dead & Company completed what was announced to be “The Final Tour” this past July.

You see, Mr. Weir has expressed the above sentiment, or similar words with the same intent, at several critical junctures over the course of the five-decades-and-counting Grateful Dead continuum: he offered such an assurance when the Dead declared an indefinite hiatus from touring in 1974 (initially not stating when or if they’d return to the road at all – although, to our great collective relief, it only lasted for a little while); he made the same assertion in 1995, when the band called an end to the use of its original name with the passing of Jerry Garcia; and again after the surviving “Core Four” of the Dead completed the Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago in 2015.

So, it should go without saying that we’ve long since learned to believe Bobby when he issues prognostications of this nature. In fact, when Dead & Company announced that 2023 would mark the Final Tour for this most recent collaborative venture of Grateful Dead alumni and associates, we felt no compulsion to ask exactly what “final” meant. It’s safe to say we haven’t heard the last of this music or these musicians, whatever form their future endeavors, together or apart, may take.

Still, there was an understandably bittersweet reaction to the news that this particular lineup was calling it a day – at least as a regularly touring entity – because Dead & Company delivered so much joy during its remarkable run (which commenced, it’s worth noting, just months after those Fare Thee Well shows in 2015, thereby putting to rest any fears about the finality of that goodbye). The convergence of core Dead veterans Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann with the immensely talented and popular guitarist/singer/songwriter (and recently enlisted/fully committed Dead Head) John Mayer, plus longtime friends and collaborators Jeff Chimenti and Oteil Burbridge, grew into one of the best-loved and most successful of all the post-Jerry carriers of the legacy, becoming a more cohesive, adventurous and powerful unit with each succeeding tour and playing to sold-out houses in arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums across the country (as well as making several sublime tropical getaways to the beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula).

Grateful Dead

January 17, 2023 - Dead & Co - Playing in the Sand
© Jay Blakesberg/Retro Photo Archive

After a 2022 Summer tour that was widely considered the best one yet, Dead & Company began the runup to the Final Tour with one more trip south of the border for the third iteration of the Playing In The Sand series, with illustrious friends like Goose, LP Giobbi and Tom Hamilton from JRAD and Billy & The Kids, performing both solo and with his newest project, called MORE!

Less than a month before the official launch date of the Final Tour, Dead & Company issued the following momentous statement, signed by Bobby, Billy, Mickey & John:

“Dear Deadheads,

Every day, things change. After many long discussions and some good old-fashioned soul searching, we are letting you know that our brother Bill Kreutzmann will not be joining us on our final summer tour. Bill wants you to know that he is in good spirits, good health and he is not retiring.

This is the culmination of a shift in creative direction as we keep these songs alive and breathing in ways that we each feel is best to continue to honor the legacy of the Grateful Dead. The final tour will go on as planned with Bill’s full endorsement and support.”

When one of the founding and essential members of a long-running and revered musical institution moves on to other pursuits and another player is brought in to fill that job, it can present a challenge that some bands might find daunting if not insurmountable. You can’t try to “replace” Bill Kreutzmann – one of the co-inventors of this repertoire and a genre unto itself - any more than you could “replace” Jerry Garcia. What you hope to do is find a great team player who understands and embraces the demands of the music and the essence of “the groupmind” and can bring their own distinctive experience and personality to the endeavor. Fortunately, Dead & Company had just the guy for the job right at hand: Jay Lane, who had not only already filled in on drums at multiple shows on both the 2021 and 2022 tours plus Playing In The Sand, when some physical issues took Bill out of action, but who also has been living and breathing this music for nearly 30 years as one of Bobby Weir’s most constant musical partners, from the earliest days of RatDog right up to the present-day lineup of Wolf Bros. Jay stepped almost seamlessly into the job, bonding quickly with Mickey Hart in the formation of a different but no less powerful rhythm tandem, and influencing the groove in subtle but noticeable new ways.

(Billy, by the way, would soon make good on that “not retiring” pledge by announcing dates with Billy & the Kids, with a promise of more in the future, on select occasions whenever the spirit strikes).

A bit under two weeks before the tour began in earnest, the slightly but significantly reconfigured lineup had two opportunities to warm up for the long trek ahead. The first was a trip to one of the world’s great musical and cultural gatherings, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – a chance to make good on a gig that had been thwarted when the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of JazzFest.

And then, a couple of days later, there was… CORNELL!

The buzz about that one began at the end of February when a cryptic, unexplained visual popped up in the band’s various social media feeds. It resembled the official logo and colors of Cornell University, but with a familiar looking lightning bolt replacing the school crest and, beneath it, “C23.”

Grateful Dead

May 8, 2023 - Celebrating the legendary May 8, 1977 Cornell show
© Jay Blakesberg/Retro Photo Archive

Mercifully, we weren’t kept in suspense or left to wild speculation for too long. A couple of days after that graphic appeared came the news we’d been hoping for: that Dead & Company would pay tribute to a shining moment in Grateful Dead history by performing at Cornell’s Barton Hall on May 8th – 46 years to the day after a 1977 show that in the ensuing years took on an almost mythic reputation among Dead Heads (the Dead returned successfully to Barton in 1980).

The event was a benefit for two very worthy causes: MusicCares, the long running organization that provides assistance and resources to musicians and other music industry professionals in medical or financial need; and the university’s own Cornell 2030 Project, in which researchers combine science, scholarship and innovation to develop climate-change solutions. Not surprisingly, the show sold out instantly, and while the hall’s small capacity (around 4,800) could not begin to accommodate everyone who longed to be there, those who weren’t able to experience the music in person were afforded the opportunity to enjoy it wherever they might be in both audio and visual form, with offering an HD and 4K video livestream and SiriusXM’s Grateful Dead Channel providing a satellite radio simulcast.

Anticipation for the Cornell show was off the charts, but Dead & Company, to put it mildly, rose to the occasion and then some. Demonstrating quite effectively that they had completely shaken off any rust that might have accrued between tours, the band hit the stage at peak power and never let up, delivering a show that fully earned a place in Barton Hall history right alongside that famous 1977 performance, and offering a promising sign that the tour to come would be one for the ages.

That promise began paying off with interest 11 days later, from the opening notes of “Shakedown Street” at the Forum in Inglewood, CA, with the band fully dialed in, requiring no time at all to achieve liftoff. Perhaps it was a natural byproduct of musicians having spent 8 years together, combined with an added sense of urgency conferred by the knowledge that this was the last time they’d be touring together – whatever the reason, it quickly became clear that no one was taking this opportunity for granted, and that both band and audience were determined to make every moment matter. With each subsequent tour date, that feeling would only grow stronger, the music simultaneously focused and adventurous, the players more perfectly attuned to one another and the fans giving back every bit of energy they got from the band and more.

Grateful Dead

May 20, 2023 - Dead & Co - Bathed in beautiful light - The Forum, Los Angeles
© Jay Blakesberg/Retro Photo Archive

As in the previous DeadCo tours, as well as Playing In The Sand, those not at the venues could still savor the sights and sounds of any show from the comfort of home, via the livestreams that offered pristine sound and stunning visuals, affording up-close views of the musicians at work. Also returning from the 2021/2022 tours was the popular “Dead Air” halftime shows, with hosts David Gans and Gary Lambert interviewing a different guest during each set break, including all the band members as well as an impressive array of other musicians, Grateful Dead family members and representatives of numerous vital non-profit organizations. All the Dead Air shows are archived and available on the Nugs YouTube channel. Given the consistently high quality of the performances on this tour, it’s an almost impossible task to single out particular highlights (as David Gans commented more than once during the breaks, “We’ve run out of superlatives!”). But some things do stand out, like the way the band could take even the most commonplace Grateful Dead standards into new realms. Some cases in point: check out just about any of the performances of “Cumberland Blues,” remade from its old Bakersfield-style country roots into a wild jazz-infused ride; or “Sugaree,” transformed from a folk-rockish lament into the epic soul song it always hinted it could be; or “Here Comes Sunshine” with a wholly unexpected (including by the band) gospel-like rave-up dropped into the middle. Throughout the tour, the band kept surprising us by surprising one another with new ideas, with the peak of mad inspiration probably being the delightfully off-the-wall two part-mashup (begun in Boston, completed in Indiana two shows later) of “Dark Star” and “Big River,” which was cooked up spontaneously during the Drums sequence at the first of those two dates.

And speaking of Drums – special thanks must go to Mickey Hart, who resolved for this final go-round to make every one of his excursions into the rhythm universe even more special than ever before. As he told us at the beginning of the tour, he invested each Drums segment with its own specific thematic design, starting at Barton Hall with the songs of birds (using sampled sounds provided by Cornell’s world-renowned ornithology department), and proceeding through a vast array of sonic wonders inspired by the animal kingdom, by the musical heritage of many cultures, by sounds gathered from the worlds oceans and from outer space and more. Joined by Jay Lane and usually Oteil Burbridge, as well as guests like Joe Russo and, yes, Big Steve Parish, Mickey took us on a new journey night after night.

After memorable stops at some of the most hallowed venues in the country – Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, CitiField, SPAC, Deer Creek, Folsom Field, The Gorge and so many more, the tour ended in the most appropriate place imaginable – to paraphrase an apt lyric, “somewhere in San Francisco, in a ballpark in July” – Oracle Park, to be exact, the home of the San Francisco Giants, located right on the Bay, not all that far from the venues where it all started.

And the band as, they’d done all summer, absolutely delivered the goods for the hometown, turning in three stellar shows with brilliantly crafted set lists, (bookended by versions of “Not Fade Away” to open the first night and close the last). Highlights included an especially moving tribute by Mickey in the last Drums sequence was devoted to two dear and departed friends and colleagues: longtime Grateful Dead roadie Ramrod Shurtliff and electronics/computer wizard Tom Paddock, both of whom were crucial contributors to the expansion of Mickey’s sonic palette, especially in the creation of the marvelous instrument known as The Beam. As an added visual treat on the last night there was a spectacular display (first tried out at Folsom Field) by a squadron of LED-equipped drones that changed formations to create airborne replicas over the bay of such beloved Grateful Dead iconography as the Stealie, the Dancing Bear and, perhaps most spectacularly, a huge Uncle Sam skeleton, tipping his star-spangled top hat to the delighted crowd.

Grateful Dead

June 23, 2023 - Oracle Park, San Francisco
© Bob Minkin

When it was all over, there were hugs and joyous tears all around immense gratitude for a tour that fulfilled and exceeded every hope… and then, the inevitable question: just how final is “Final?”

And, as we all should have learned by now – and in keeping with that sagacious reassurance offered by Bobby at such moments – the answer quickly came: not all that final at all!

In fact, Mickey Hart had already offered his judgement by sometime around mid-tour:

“It's not final anything. We never said we'll never play again, but we'll never tour again.”

Within days of the last show, John Mayer posted on his various social platforms:

“Dead & Company is still a band. We just don’t know what the next show will be.”

And just as we were preparing this piece for publication, John expanded on this a bit in an appearance on his good friend Andy Cohen’s talk show, “Watch What Happens Live,” he responded theis to a viewer’s question about whether we’d see him play again with Dead & Company on the road:

“’On the road’ is kind of an interesting question... I have to believe that we love this music so much that we're gonna play shows. We’re just trying to figure out what that looks like in the future. Everyone has it in their hearts to keep playing."

It boils down to this: while there may be some uncertainty about the specifics – and hey, what’s so great about certainty, anyway? – it seems as though Dead & Company will at some undetermined point find new ways to converge and commingle, in ways that probably won’t involve the massive infrastructure and exhausting grind of touring. It might even serve to make the music even better, if that’s possible. In the meantime, enjoy the uncertainty. Embrace the uncertainty.

And by the way: The tour isn’t really over at all. That tour by that band in that form might be. But the bigger tour we’ve all been on for all these decades hasn’t slowed down a bit – it’s just doing what it’s always done: morphing, mutating, shape-shifting into new forms, subsets and bite size morsels. Just consider that within days of the “Final Tour” (ha!). Bobby was announcing an extensive batch of new dates with Wolf Bros (including DeadCo mates Jeff and Jay) and the Wolf Pack; Oteil and Friends were back out on the road; John got ready to resume his hugely successful solo tour; Billy and The Kids played some shows; and we gleefully await whatever Mickey might have up his sleeve.

And a while after Dead & Co. called it not-quits, another big news item was dropped: in January there will be a return to Mexico for something both new and familiar called “Dead Ahead” – described as “two nights of curated collaborations,” with all the members of DeadCo except John (who has other commitments) playing in various configurations, separately and together and featuring a dream team of guest artists including Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Rick Mitarotonda, Margo Price, Sturgill Simpson and more.

So, friends, prepare to stick around for a bit – or a lot – longer.

Like the man said: Hell, we’re just gettin’ started!

Jerry Garcia

One of the more exciting news items out of the Garcia-verse is that Justin Kreutzmann is nearing completion on his long-awaited project, the first-ever authorized documentary about Jerry Garcia. We can’t wait.

Archival music continues to pour forth from the revitalized Round Records, too. GarciaLive Vol. 20: June 18th, 1982 Cape Cod Coliseum is out now, including a wild bonus version of “Deal” from June ‘81 at The Stone in San Francisco. Record Store Day’s Black Friday will see a 2-LP edition of Jerry Garcia and John Kahn playing acoustic on Pure Jerry: Marin Veterans’ Memorial, San Rafael, CA February 28, 1986 (with new art by Gabe Schneider/Sight Study). Forthcoming on vinyl, too, is Heads & Tails: Vol. 1, the first of a new series capturing pieces of music that are perfect for LP listening. The debut edition includes a Garcia/Saunders “Save Mother Earth” jam with Paul Butterfield from 1972 on one side and a blistering Jerry Garcia Band version of “Don’t Let Go” from 1988 on the other. Round also produced Might As Well, a compilation of Garcia/Hunter originals featured on Garcia’s solo studio albums


June 16, 1982 - Jerry Garcia Band w/ Bill Kreutzman and John Kahn, Music Mountain, S. Fallsburg, NY © Bob Minkin

The Jerry Garcia Family and Rex Foundation had another successful year of partnerships with Major League Baseball. Tribute nights spanned the country in celebration of Garcia’s 81st birthday The New York Yankees hosted six nights from August 1st through 6th, the Cincinnati Reds on August 4th, the Boston Red Sox had their largest Jerry Day ever on August 9th, and a new Jerry Day came to the Bay Area with the Oakland A’s on August 18th. A portion of all proceeds benefited the Rex Foundation.

Garcia Hand Picked continues to produce some of the finest cannabis, available at dispensaries in Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Oregon.


That whole thing about the music never stopping? We offer you the latest updates from the wide world of Bobby Weir. After a busy summer with Dead & Co., Weir went right back out on the road with Wolf Bros. featuring the Wolfpack, hitching up with Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival. If you caught the show (or streamed Farm Aid) you may’ve seen Bobby joining Willie and the family onstage for the big finale, and even sitting for Willie’s whole set at Pine Knob. In the spring, the Wolf Bros. trio played an extended stand at the Guild Theatre in Menlo Park (around the corner from the location of Magoo’s Pizza) featuring guests that included Molly Tuttle, JD Souther, Steve Kimock, members of the Wolfpack, and more.

Bobby Weir

October 5, 2022 - Bobby Weir - National Symphony Orchestra - Washington, DC
© Jay Blakesberg/Retro Photo Archive

As always, there’s plenty on the schedule. On October 29th, Weir will perform with the Stanford Orchestra at the Frost Amphitheatre on the Stanford campus, part of his continuing orchestral project. (We recommend our Bobby 75 Deadcast for more on that.) In December, the Wolf. Bros and Wolfpack will be at the good ol’ Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York for five shows between December 12th and 17th, followed by a three-night New Year’s run at the Broward County Center for the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, before Dead Ahead at Riviera Cancun in January featuring the Wolf Bros., a new configuration of Weir and Mickey Hart with members of Dead & Co. and Wolf Bros., and guests including Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, and more.



April 23, 2023 - Skull & Roses, Ventura, CA
© Bob Minkin

Since the last edition of the Almanac, Phil Lesh and Friends have carried Dead music across the country and back. Though Terrapin Crossroads remains without a venue, they presented a pair of Sunday Daydreams at home in San Rafael over the summer. Phil and his many friends celebrated the Warfield Theatre’s 100th birthday, their own 100th appearance at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, headlined the Skull & Roses Festival in Ventura, visited the Rockies, stopped in Chicago and on Long Island and elsewhere, and dropped peaceful love-filled bass bombs everywhere.


After taking JazzFest in the spring, Bill the Drummer hit the road this summer for a pair of exciting Dead on the Water shows with Billy & the Kids in Baltimore and New York City, now available to listen via, alongside Billy’s recent benefit concert in Kauai, Grateful Mantra. The band deeply mourns the loss of Kids saxophonist James Casey, originally scheduled to perform. The group was delighted to welcome new family members, including vocalist Kanika Moore, guitarist Daniel Donato, and mandolinist Sierra Hull.


January 17, 2023 - Soaking up the sun. Playing in the Sand
© Jay Blakesberg/Retro Photo Archive

As we go to press, the Kids are taking to the road for a bicoastal Daze of the Dead run, including a pair of shows at the Capitol Theatre on October 20th and 21st (featuring special guest Kids Brad and Andrew Barr of The Slip), before heading west for Halloween at Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA and a Dia de los Metros performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl on November 2nd.


This summer’s Dead & Co. tour featured a number of Mickey-inspired surprises, from the rare “Fire On the Mountain” rap in Boulder to a pop-up gallery outside Oracle Field in San Francisco. But mostly, at this summer’s shows, Mickey somehow took Drums and Space to the next level, giving each performance its own theme and identity and posting accompanying notes on his website. The motifs drew from a wide range of sounds in Mickey’s archives and imagination. They included musicological excursions from Mickey’s own field recordings (drawing from his epochal Voices Of the Rainforest), a life-time of sound collecting (featuring unusual instruments like prepared piano and the angklung), organic sonic landscapes (ice floes, ants, water), mind symphonies (Serpent’s Teeth, Gods & Planets), and other experiments (you know, like playing the Golden Gate Bridge).


June 9, 2023 - Dead & Co. Wrigley Field, Chicago
© Jay Blakesberg/Retro Photo Archive

Up next for Mickey is Dead Ahead in Mexico this January. Along with playing two nights with a fresh configuration of familiar faces, he’ll debut the all-new project Noche de Ondas in a special late-night set. You know Mickey always brings it. Surf’s up!


Bruce Hornsby

Owsley Stanley Foundation

May 12, 1991 - Bruce Hornsby - Shoreline Amphitheatre
© Jay Blakesberg/Retro Photo Archive

Old friend and occasional Grateful Dead pianist/accordionist Bruce Hornsby continues to push forward on his own big-eared creative path. He recently completed a trilogy of albums (Absolute Zero, Non-Secure Connection, and ‘Flicted) drawing from his film composition work for Spike Lee and featuring a variety of special collaborators including Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Mavis Staples, Blake Mills, Jack DeJohnette, yMusic, Leon Russell, James Mercer (The Shins), Danielle Haim, and Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend), among others.

Bruce hits the road this fall for a solo tour in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Spirit Trail, preparing to release a 3-CD and 3-LP anniversary edition, featuring the remastered double album (which includes a posthumous cameo from Jerry Garcia on “Sunflower Cat”), four previously unheard songs, and 70 minute of live recordings. Expect more exciting projects from Bruce, who will mark his 70th year in 2024. (Hear stories about Bruce’s first Dead shows on the “Stella Blue” episode of the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast and look out for an all-Bruce Deadcast in the future.)

Dose Hermanos


August 1, 2007 -Tom Constanten and Bob Bralove, Sausalito, CA
©Bob Minkin

Dose Hermanos is the unlikely duo of Tom Constanten (who played keyboard for the Grateful Dead from late 1968 to early 1970) and Bob Bralove (the Dead’s MIDI technician from 1988 through 1995). The two formed Dose Hermanos in the wake of Jerry Garcia’s death as a vehicle for their duo improvisations, welcoming in new collaborators over the years, and releasing Persistence of Memory last autumn. Bob reports that he’s been working on a pair of albums including a set of his own songs, as well as a collection of acoustic piano improvisations with violist Patti Weiss. Dose Hermanos are on the lookout for their next mischief.

Owsley Stanley Foundation

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Bear’s Choice, the first officially released Sonic Journal by Owsley “Bear” Stanley, the Dead’s original taper. We’ve lost count of how many have followed, but this year saw more of Bear’s recordings make their way to official release, including discs from RFK Stadium in 1973 on the Here Comes Sunshine box, as well as the September 1972 performances included on Dave’s Picks 46 from Hollywood, Jersey City, and Boulder.


August 27, 1972 - Owsley Stanley III - Sunshine Daydream - Veneta, Oregon © Ron Rakow//Retro Photo Archive

Excitingly, the Owsley Stanley Foundation somehow keep turning up unheard tapes as they continue to meticulously catalog the Sonic Journals. Though we can’t hear them just yet, they’ve recently put their paws on a few 1969 tapes from the Family Dog, including a fun-looking superjam and a rare appearance of Jerry Garcia playing pedal steel with Hot Tuna.

Sam Cutler 1943-2023


April 17, 2010 - Sam Cutler, Marin County, CA © Bob Minkin

Sam Cutler, the unforgettable chief tour architect for the Grateful Dead in the early 1970s, passed away in Australia on July 11th. Born in England, Sam came into the Dead’s orbit after piloting the Rolling Stones’ 1969 American tour and hiding out at Mickey Hart’s ranch following the chaos at Altamont. Over the next years, he helped the Dead re-organize their road work, culminating in the legendary Europe ‘72 adventure, the Watkins Glen Summer Jam with the Dead, the Allman Brothers, and the Band (holding the record as the biggest concert in North American history), and Sam’s own booking agency, Out Of Town Tours. After departing the Dead in early 1974, Sam helped establish Manor Downs outside Austin, TX, with his partner Frances Carr.

COMIC By Darryl Norsen



Here we are, entering our lucky number 13th year of the Dave's Picks series, and once again, I mean it when I say it feels like we're just getting started. Back in mid-2011 when Mark Pinkus and Doran Tyson approached me with the idea of a new archival series to be called Dave's Picks, I was thrilled, humbled, and above all honoured for this ultimate sign of trust, faith, and respect. Never did I think the series would be going for a baker's dozen of years, with many more on the horizon. Our aim remains exactly the same as it was in 2012 when the Dave's Picks series started: bring you A+ complete Grateful Dead shows, sounding better than ever, beautifully packaged, four times per year. A series that began with 12,000 units of each volume is now at 25,000 and sometimes that might not even be enough, and this is a testament to Rhino never veering off the path of its vision to treat Dead Heads with respect and caring. Everything we release, just as everything we do as it relates to the Grateful Dead's legacy, begins with the question, "is this cool? Is this something I'd like?"

To our subscribers, we really couldn't do this without you. You give us the faith that we're on the right track, trusting us to fill your mailbox with the goods four times per year. We put a tremendous amount of work into the subscribers' exclusive Bonus Disc that comes with the second volume every year, and that's to say thank you for joining us on this journey that doesn't have a specific destination. Speaking of the Bonus Disc, wait until you see what we have planned for the extra CD that will come to you along with Volume 50. Were I a younger fellow, I'd insert the "mind-blown" emoji here. Suffice it to say, we think it will blow your mind. After a year of tremendous variety with 2023's four offerings from 1977 (two complete shows!), 1972 (Keith and Donna!), 1979 (Brent!), and 1971 (Keith, with Pigpen on hiatus!), we are already planning a wild ride in 2024, starting with a 4-CD mega set featuring TWO complete shows from April 27 and 28, 1985, at the Frost. And Vol. 50? An upper-tier Dead show that's been on our release list for many years. The time is perfect for this show (shows...?) to be the one celebrating big number 50. So, thanks for coming along for another year. We really appreciate it and won't let you down.
David Lemieux
September 2023

Another year of complete previously unreleased live Grateful Dead shows? Yes, please! By now we’re certain you know that a subscription is your best bet for getting each of the four numbered, limited-edition releases (now totaling a minimum of 13 CDs), delivered to your door quarterly. You’ll also get the subscription exclusive bonus disc, which remains one of the most highly sought-after collectables we release, and free U.S. shipping. Subscriber bonus discs are not released outside of this offer. As always, early bird subscribers can nab a sub at $99.98 (regular pricing will be $119.92).

Dave's Picks 2024 will be capped at 25,000 copies of each release. Your best bet is to subscribe, sit back, and relax all year long!




Very nearly selected as the inaugural Dave's Picks, 7/31/74 would eventually become the second release in the series in 2012. The Hartford '74 show was the penultimate outdoor concert for the Grateful Dead's Wall Of Sound, which was on the tail end of its existence. DAVE'S PICKS VOL. 2 includes every note the Grateful Dead played that night plus Phil and Ned's Seastones interlude. Featuring a rare "Scarlet Begonias" show-opener, and ending with an encore of Uncle John's Band, Dave's Picks Vol. 2 features three full-length sets, a truly epic, monumental show from 1974, a year many Dead Heads consider the band's greatest. The show includes lengthy workouts on "China>Rider," "Weather Report Suite," "Eyes Of The World>China Doll," and a "Truckin'>Wharf Rat" sequence that includes several thematic jams as the band joins these two classics. The CD sold out immediately in 2012, and we're thrilled to be re-issuing this terrific show on vinyl.
– David Lemieux

Housed in a 2-piece telescope box with an insert featuring photos and liners, this 7LP (with a 14th side etching) 180-gram vinyl set has been mastered for release by Jeffrey Norman and produced by David Lemieux. It's limited and numbered to 5,000 copies and due February 2nd, 2024.


RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. 6/10/73

Widely considered one of the Grateful Dead's seminal performances, and certainly one of the very best of the universally acclaimed 1973 performing year, 6/10/73 is as synonymous with great Grateful Dead concerts as are 2/13/70, 8/27/72, and 5/8/77. There are few shows that deliver the goods to the extent of this concert, with its statement-opener of "Morning Dew," through lengthy workouts on "Bird Song," "Playing In The Band," "Here Comes Sunshine," "Eyes Of The World," and an other-worldly "Dark Star." Add to this a nearly hour-long encore/third set featuring members of the Allman Brothers Band (with whom the Dead shared the bill at RFK in 1973), and you have not only one of the most unique shows in Grateful Dead history, but also one of the most exciting, inspired, and powerful performances of the Dead's entire career. We've served up the complete previously unreleased performance, with Plangent Processes tape restoration and speed correction, and mastering by Jeffrey Norman.


Here Comes Sunshine 1973

8 years in and the Grateful Dead are a little bit of everything to everyone. They are putting up textures and tones of rock, of jazz, of country, with set-morphing vibes and long stretches of improvisations that are completely keyed into the sum of their parts. Keith Godchaux is here with his cascading notes. Donna Jean too. Both finding their footing and keeping things steady in the wake of Pigpen's unfillable gap. The spring of 1973 feels transformative for the Dead - no more so than the May and early June shows, complementary yet remarkably different, soon-to-be cornerstones of everyone's tape collections, and now, 50 years later, a part of the band's official canon.

HERE COMES SUNSHINE 1973 features five previously unreleased, highly sought-after Dead shows, including: Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines, IA (5/13/73), Campus Stadium, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA (5/20/73), Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, CA (5/26/73), and Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C. (6/9/73) and (6/10/73).

During the spring, the band road-tested most of the songs they would record that summer for WAKE OF THE FLOOD – their first studio album in three years – including early live versions of “Mississippi Half-Step Toodeloo,” “Row Jimmy,” “Stella Blue,” “Eyes Of The World,” and, the set’s namesake, “Here Comes Sunshine.” Also tucked into the collection are songs destined for the Dead’s 1974 studio album, FROM THE MARS HOTEL – “China Doll,” “Loose Lucy,” and “Wave That Flag,” a precursor to “U.S. Blues.”

The new repertoire slipped neatly into the fluid setlists alongside songs honed on the 1972 European tour (“Jack Straw,” “Tennessee Jed,” “Brown-Eyed Women”), Chuck Berry perennials (“Promised Land,” “Around And Around”), classic country (“Big River,” “The Race Is On”), and incredible jam sequences: “He’s Gone”> “Truckin’”> “The Other One”> “Eyes Of The World.”

The limited and numbered boxed set is officially sold out but you can still enjoy all the mighty fine tunes with a high-definition download.


History Of The Grateful Dead, Volume 1 (Bear's Choice)

The Grateful Dead's first true archival album, BEAR'S CHOICE, was lovingly produced as a tribute to Pigpen shortly after he passed by none other than the Dead's original soundman and benefactor, Owsley Stanley, aka Bear. Drawing from live shows recorded three years earlier by Bear at the Fillmore East in New York City, BEAR'S CHOICE captures the Dead at an essential moment of their history, as they were about to record WORKINGMAN'S DEAD (and shortly thereafter, AMERICAN BEAUTY), and were transitioning into becoming Americana pioneers, while never losing touch with their psychedelic improvisational roots. Three of the eight songs on the album are sung by Pigpen, with Side 1 being the definitive example of early ACOUSTIC DEAD, and Side 2 being electric blues and rock & roll, with Pigpen leading the charge on both tracks on the second side. This has been re-mastered by David Glasser using Plangent Processes from the original analog 2-track tapes recorded live by Bear and has never sounded better.


Wake Of The Flood (50th Anniversary Editions)

The Classic 1973 Album and Debut From Grateful Dead Records, Newly Remastered &
Expanded With Previously Unreleased Material

In 1973, following the recent passing of founding member Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and the temporary exit of drummer Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead released WAKE OF THE FLOOD. As the debut album from their own record label, Grateful Dead Records, the studio LP marked a period of transition, growth, endurance, and optimism for the band, introducing a fresh lineup that included new members Keith and Donna Godchaux on keys and vocals. While songs like “Eyes Of The World,” “Stella Blue,” and “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” were largely road-tested for more than half a year beforehand, and have remained staples of live sets by any number of Dead-related bands ever since, the album and record label delivered both a profound artistic statement and proof of concept for the community, ideals and future the band were building.

WAKE OF THE FLOOD (50TH ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION) 2CD set features the album’s seven original songs and previously unreleased demo recordings of “Eyes Of The World” and “Here Comes Sunshine.” Recorded in early 1973, just before the Grateful Dead performed on February 9th, the demos feature Jerry Garcia singing and playing a pair of new songs he and Robert Hunter had been creating.

WAKE OF THE FLOOD (50TH ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION) also includes a bonus disc of live material from the final night of a brief tour that immediately followed WAKE OF THE FLOOD’s release. Captured at Northwestern University’s McGaw Memorial Hall on November 1st, 1973, the set is bookended with “Weather Report Suite” and “Mississippi Half-Step,” and features one of the most creative and inspired jams of the entire run: “Morning Dew”>”Playing In The Band”>”Uncle John's Band”>”Playing In The Band.”

As for the vinyl, all pressings of WAKE OF THE FLOOD (50TH ANNIVERSARY REMASTER) feature Plangent Processes tape restoration and speed correction and are newly mastered by GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer, David Glasser and produced for release by Grateful Dead Legacy Manager and Audio Archivist, David Lemieux.


Wake Of The Flood: The Angel's Share

THE ANGEL'S SHARE brings together the outtakes, alternate versions, and in-studio conversations behind the creation of the album. Unexpected moments and revelations can be found in takes of "Let Me Sing Your Blues Away," Keith Godchaux's first and only vocal on a Grateful Dead studio record, and Bob Weir's continually evolving "Weather Report Suite." Also featured is the track "Phil's Song (Unbroken Chain)" that appeared later on THE MARS HOTEL. As the curtains are pulled back, WAKE OF THE FLOOD: THE ANGEL'S SHARE transports you to August 6-17, 1973 at Sausalito, CA's Record Plant, turning it into a fly-on-the-wall experience of the band's joyous and collaborative process.


In The Community


Socially Grateful

It’s high time to start celebrating the holidays. We've got a handful of NEW festive Grateful Dead designs made for your socials in MP4, square, and Stories sizes. Post up now or later, we don't mind. Simply download your selected art to your desktop and upload as your profile picture or animation.



Good Ol' Grateful Deadcast

Author and WFMU DJ Jesse Jarnow and singer-songwriter and producer Rich Mahan cranked it into overtime this year, with Seasons 7 AND 8, where they took a closer look at the adventures of Pigpen, Bear’s Choice, HERE COMES SUNSHINE, Watkins Glen, and are currently working their way through an in-depth track-by-track celebrating the 50th anniversary of WAKE OF THE FLOOD. Join them every other Thursday as they continue to weave together stories from Grateful Dead family members, Dead Heads, surprise guests, and historians with rare audio from the band. You never know who will stop by! Oh, and all episodes are now being transcribed for posterity and greater accessibility.

Who are you? Where are you? How are you? We want to hear from you!

Did you hitch an unforgettable ride to the show? Make lifelong friends on Shakedown Street? Marry the gal with scarlet begonias tucked into her curls? 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. Hit the link below to record a tale or two or leave a text message for the hosts.



A Dead Head’s most wonderful time of the year starts on November 1st, the kickoff to 30 days of unreleased Grateful Dead tracks from the vault, one for every day of the month, selected by archivist and producer David Lemieux. The tracks are yours, 100% free gua-ran-teed, but the real fun is taking part in the challenge for the chance to win some sweet swag from the Dead.

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 70s show? Each day we'll post a song 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? If you think you know, lob your answer in and you just might find yourself taking home our daily prize of a 2024 Grateful Dead wall calendar or the grand prize – a copy of limited, numbered, and sold out HERE COMES SUNSHINE 1973 17CD boxed set!