Mark your calendars for the second annual Jerry Garcia birthday tribute at Club Passim in Cambridge, Mass.: August 1, 2018.
The music of the Grateful Dead is part of my DNA as a guitarist and songwriter.
I began playing the band’s songs as a teenager…learned to improvise while space jamming with my brother…caught a bunch of Dead and Jerry Garcia Band shows in the ’80s and early ’90s…and discovered a long list of great artists and traditional tunes through their covers.
I was fortunate enough to interview Jerry along with David Grisman in 1993 (as featured in the book Rock Troubadours; the photo in the poster above was taken that day by Jay Blakesberg), and then Bob Weir 15 years later.
I recorded an EP of solo acoustic arrangements of Dead songs, created a Homespun video series teaching those arrangements, and have led workshops around the country showing guitarists how to play songs like “New Speedway Boogie,” “Friend of the Devil,” and “Althea” (and I once gave a Dead guitar lesson on camera to a Boston Globe reporter, as documented in this article and video).
And then came this amazing moment: an opportunity to play Jerry’s iconic Wolf guitar.
I am at heart a songwriter, but I simply love the music that Jerry and the Dead gave us. And I know lots of fellow songwriters who feel the same way.
In 2017 I put together a special show at Club Passim, Boston’s legendary folk venue, to celebrate Jerry’s 75th birthday, with a group of stellar singer-songwriters performing their interpretations of favorite Jerry/Dead songs. The night was magical, and I’m thrilled to announce that we’re doing it again in 2018 on Jerry’s birthday—Wednesday, August 1. Performers will include Greg Klyma, Ryan Fitzsimmons, Spotted Tiger, and more TBA—see the bios and links below. Ticket information coming soon. The show will also be broadcast on Concert Window.
Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers is a grand prize winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and founding editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine.
Greg Klyma is a prolific songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and seasoned performer. His birth date puts him squarely in the middle of Generation X, but Klyma is an old-school troubadour.
Ryan Fitzsimmons, in the words of Boston’s Red Line Roots, is “a brutal force of nature on acoustic guitar. Often breaking multiple strings during a performance, he plays with a fire and fierceness that cannot be tamed, or faked for that matter. There is no doubt that Ryan is as enticing a musician as they come.”
Spotted Tiger is the Boston-based band led by violist Laurence Scudder and guitarist Erik White, of the Brothers McCann. Together they play an eclectic mix of originals and hand-picked covers.