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Tuesday, August 1

Remembering Jerry: “It's about the music, man.”

Remembering Jerry: It's about the music, man.
Grateful Ed

With both a celebration of Jerry Garcia's 75th birthday and the 27th (OMG) anniversary of his death, there are and will be a lot of words written, songs played, thoughts shared about the man. But let us not forget, it was the music he created that is his legacy.

And like all legacies, it is shrouded in myth and seen through the veils of the past, tempered by memories, influenced by our own perceptions of what happened and how we were and are affected. It is not important to try to dissect the “truth” from our perceptions because to us, they are one and the same. But sometimes it is good to reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly.

When Jerry was good, he was very, very, very good, one of the guitar gods, a true innovator. His melodic playing, encapsulating elements of the blues, jazz, bluegrass and rock in all its forms could transport one to another plane, a psychic experience bar none. But when things were off, it got messy, discordant, sloppy. Sometimes gods come down from Olympus and just become human.

And that was the joy, that was the excitement, that made you keep coming back for more. Never knowing if it would be a night where the audience would be elevated to realms beyond belief or left gazing at their shoes going “Huh”. If you love The Dead and if you love(d) Jerry you took it all in as a totality- we are the sum of our parts and his parts were as complex as one could be.

We can dissect his playing infinitely (his use of the mixolydian scale, his references to Django Reinhard, Les Paul, Miles Davis, Lester Flatt & Earl Scrugs, etc.) and we should. But we should also always look to our hearts and our heads and rejoice in how he made us feel.