On Thursday afternoon, I skipped out of work early to drive 150-some miles to Merriweather Post Pavilion a.k.a. Jerriweather a.k.a my favorite outdoor concert space in the world. The destination was Dear Jerry, a tribute concert for the Grateful Dead’s 50th Anniversary that I happened to buy a ticket for a couple months ago.
The show featured original Dead members Phil Lesh, Micky Hart, Bob Weir, and Bill Kreutzmann sitting in with some of the most talented names in live music: Peter Frampton, The Disco Biscuits, Yonder Mountain String Band, O.A.R., Jimmy Cliff, moe., Los Lobos, Widespread Panic, Grace Potter… etc, etc.
Thanks to the daily post-apocalyptic hellscape that is Jersey-bound Holland Tunnel traffic, I didn’t get to Merriweather until the beginning of the second set, with the Disco Biscuits on stage performing a rip-shit version of Scarlet Begonias > I Know You Rider > Scarlet Begonias.
It’s not really fair to label a single performance as “the best” during a tribute show with such a diversity of musical acts. But for me, the obvious stand-out from the roster of jam band acts was Eric Church’s cover of “Tennessee Jed.” The Bro Country star brought out Bill Kreutzmann, Micky Hart, and legendary mandolin picker Sam Bush for the cover. All things considered, it’s an appropriately twangy homage to a great American band with deep country music roots.
Anyway, I just thought you guys might enjoy it. It’s not often you hear mainstream radio country music cross paths with a Dead classic. It’s a pleasant surprise to have these two musical worlds meld together.