Jesse McReynolds & Friends - "Songs of the Grateful Dead" CD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jesse McReynolds & Friends - "Songs of the Grateful Dead" CD Review

"Jesse Lester McReynolds (born July 9, 1929, in Coeburn, Virginia) is an American bluegrass musician. He is known for his innovative crosspicking and split-string styles of mandolin playing, and is a forty two year member of the Grand Ole Opry. He is a multiple Grammy nominee and award winner." -- Wikipedia

Jesse McReynolds & Friends - In October, Jesse McReynolds released a loving twelve-track tribute to the music of the Grateful Dead and the disc features one new cut which McReynolds co-wrote with Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.

Songs of the Grateful Dead isn't just bluegrass renditions of Grateful Dead tunes (like Dead Grass and The Grass is Dead) as McReynolds leveraged friends David Nelson (New Riders Of The Purple Sage) and Stu Allen to create an unique interpretations of each song which ultimately don't stray too far from the Dead's original versions. "It's a different type of music than I've done throughout the years," McReynolds says. "I didn't want to do it bluegrass. A few bluegrass groups have done Grateful Dead things. I wanted to do this more in a way that would be recognized as the Grateful Dead-style music. I did it pretty much in the middle of the road between bluegrass and rock 'n' roll."

In addition to the crisp and intricate instrumentals, McReynolds has a strong voice that isn't that far removed from Jerry Garcia's. “Jesse’s singing voice is like a long-lost brother voice between Jerry Garcia and David Nelson,” Robert Hunter wrote. “Everyone who knows their work and is fortunate enough to hear this record will know what I mean. What a trio you’d all have made! The singing is steady and strong. Jerry would approve, I’m certain.

Jesse recently headlined the "The Wheel -- A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia" at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Below are a couple live performances from this show of songs from Songs of the Grateful Dead.

Jesse McReynolds