If you’re kicking yourself because you didn’t get to see The Dead on their red-hot spring tour, you have one last chance to see them—at the Rothbury Festival in beautiful rural Michigan, on July 4. After that, it’s highly unlikely the group will perform together again in 2009, though most of the band members will all be criss-crossing America in different groups this summer.
Photo: Jay Blakesberg ©2009
Rothbury Rocks! In just its second year, Rothbury has become one of the coolest and most talked about music festivals in America, right up there with Bonnaroo for its ability to attract so many great acts, big and small, and present them in an appealing environment. Rothbury hasn’t attracted quite the numbers that Bonnaroo regularly does—and that’s a good thing; smaller is beautiful. At last year’s inaugural fest, both Phil Lesh & Friends and the Mickey Hart Band (with Steve Kimock and George Porter, Jr., among others) were on hand, as were such acts as the Dave Matthews Band, Widespread Panic, John Mayer, Trey Anastasio, Snoop Dogg, Govt. Mule and a slew of others. This year, the three-day fest has a larger and even more diverse lineup, including Bob Dylan, String Cheese Incident, Willie Nelson, Govt. Mule, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Flogging Molly, Toots & the Maytals, King Sunny Ade, Yonder Mountain String Band, P&F member Jackie Greene with his great band, bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley and many, many more.
The festival prides itself on being a “green” event—eco-friendly and self-sustaining. The campgrounds are pleasant and well-run, and there’s lots to do when you’re not grooving to music on one of the many stages spread throughout the site, which includes woods, open meadows and a lake. The magical Sherwood Forest area is sort of a chill zone, with art installations, light displays and various bands day and night. The domed Tripolee is a multi-sensory dance/trance/rave spot that really kicks into high gear late at night. There are lectures and roundtable discussions about various issues at the Think Tank. Just lots and lots of neat stuff happening 24/7.
Contrary to any rumor you might have heard, this really is going to be the only Dead appearance for the foreseeable future, so… what the hell? See you in Michigan for the 4th of July? (Last year there were great fireworks, too!) For more info about this year’s festivities, and about the ideas and ideals behind the event, go to www.rothburyfestival.com.
RatDog Returns! With The Dead back on the shelf following Rothbury, Bob Weir and Jeff Chimenti will be going back to their mates in RatDog for what’s shaping up to be a really strong tour.
Photo: Jay Blakesberg ©2009
The BK3 is Back for More! Bill Kreutzmann’s revamped group, the BK3, is back on the road, with a handful of shows in June and July, including festivals in Florida and West Virginia, and also a gig at the storied Oregon Country Fair in Veneta. Guitarist Scott Murawski remains part of the lineup, but bassist James “Hutch” Hutchinson, who has traveled the world with Bonnie Raitt for many years, is now in the bass slot formerly occupied by Oteil Burbridge (who is off with the Allmans this summer). And a more recent addition is the supremely talented multi-instrumentalist/singer from the great band Donna the Buffalo, Tara Nevins. This mini-tour sounds like it should not be missed! For more info, go to Bill’s MySpace page: www.myspace.com/billkreutzmann.
He Is Everywhere! That loafing slacker Warren Haynes will be touring with both Govt. Mule and Allman Brothers this summer. You can find Govt. Mule dates (late June through early August) here and Allman dates (mid-August into early September) here.
New Music from Mark Karan! On June 30, a new album by RatDog guitar phenom Mark Karan, called Walk Through the Fire, will be released on Mark’s own Quacktone Records label. The project has been many months in the making and includes a few original songs by Mark (such as the title track), as well a handful of cool covers, such as the Dead’s “Easy Wind,” the Robert Johnson blues “Love in Vain,” Randy Newman’s oft-covered “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” and Joe Jackson’s “Fools In Love.” Should be a good ’un! Not surprisingly, Mark’s band mates from Jemimah Puddleduck helped out, as did Delaney Bramlett and Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne. We’ll be posting an interview with Mark talking about the album down the road a bit. In the meantime, you can catch Jemimah Puddleduck on July 4 in Ohio, and at a few far-flung spots in August. For all your Mark Karan info needs, go to www.markkaran.com.
Riding the Range with the New Riders! The New Riders of the Purple Sage will always be Dead family, and the good news is the band is enjoying quite a revival. Not only have they been touring very successfully with their jammy current lineup (David Nelson, Buddy Cage, Michael Falzarano, Ronnie Penque and Johnny Markowski), but they also have an excellent new album, Where I Come From, which includes seven new original tunes co-written by David Nelson and Robert Hunter. We spoke at length with Nelson recently and will be posting it on dead.net in the near future! New Riders on the Web: www.nrpsmusic.com.