Bob Weir is throwing a birthday party for his old friend and Grateful Dead bandmate Jerry Garcia. Move Me Brightly, a name drawn from the lyrics to “Terrapin Station,” will be webcast for free tonight in high definition live from Weir’s state of the art TRI Studios located in San Rafael, CA at 9:30 p.m. EST/6:30 p.m. PST.
The evening will feature roughly 25 Garcia songs, from both the Dead and his solo work, interpreted by some of the brightest music stars spanning several generations. Led by Weir, the rotating cast will feature fellow Grateful Dead bandmate Donna Jean Godchaux, Phish’s Mike Gordon, Furthur’s Joe Russo and Jeff Chimenti, Vampire Weekend’s Chris Tomson, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals’ Neal Casal and Jon Graboff, The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and Tab Kubler, The Black Crowes’ Adam MacDougall, the Yellowbirds’ Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman, Jim Lauderdale, Cass McCombs, Paul Simon’s son Harper Simon, Jonathan Wilson and a few very special guests. The event will be emceed by actor Luke Wilson ( Old School, The Royal Tenenbaums ) and will also include a video interview with Carlos Santana and a reading of David Crosby’s tribute to Garcia, “Cause I’m Missing Him Tonight.”
Justin Kreutzmann, the son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann has created some special video for the event and here is what he has to say: “I think about Jerry more in the last few years probably than I have since he was alive. He crosses my mind a lot when something really cool and significant happens. I think, ‘I can’t wait to tell Jerry about this,’ and then I remember. I learned so much from him on so many levels it’s impossible to fit it all in here. I wish he could have met my daughter Alivia, they would have liked each other. And I know Jerry would have some great ‘Uncley’ advice about kids. At least a few rich stories. As far as his music, I’m inspired by whatever tune of his crosses through my world. The music is still a living thing to me so whatever Jerry music is on right at the moment is what inspires me. Been thinking about him a whole lot these last few days, I miss him. We’ll see each other again and we can have a good chuckle about all this…”
A conversation with Bob Weir about the event has just posted to Relix.com. Here are some thought from other participants in the event.
MIKE GORDON (PHISH)
What makes Garcia so special that we throw an event like this for you him 17 years after his death?
Mike Gordon: It’s hard to know, I think it’s rare that you’d get someone who takes a bigger bite out of life and music than he did, somehow he must have just embraced more. There are few people in history who have reached so far into the well of tradition and at the same time pushed so far into the stratosphere of possibility and to do it with compassion and inspiration. I like Bob Dylan’s quote when he died, he was like, “he’s the very spirit embodied by that which is muddy river country and screams up to the spheres,” I thought, I’m not gonna be able to say it better than that.
Has your appreciation grown for Garcia and Dead music as you’ve grown?
Mike Gordon: Yeah, I’ve been a huge Dead fan for a long time but I’ve never really played a lot of Dead songs, so I’ve gotten inside a whole bunch of the songwriting that I never had before, and there’s a lot of cleverness that I might not have thought about before, even simple technical things like holding on a chord for three times as long as I normally would.
NEAL CASAL (RYAN ADAMS & THE CARDINALS, CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD)
What makes Garcia so special to you?
Neal Casal: It’s the depth of the guys work, the depth of his creativity reaches a lot farther than most people. First you have the guitar playing, no first I would say you have the songwriting which is absolutely brilliant and the further you get into his songwriting as a player, as I’ve been doing these past couple weeks playing with Phil [Lesh] and now with Bob, as you dig into the depth and the complexity and the spiritual quality of the songwriting, the humor in the songwriting, the writing encompasses so much. It’s musically interesting, unpredictable and just so soulful and memorable; and all of the songs are humable and singable and we can all remember them, but if you start to play them you realize they’re really not easy, most of them, there’s a lot going on with the writing.
His guitar playing is another facet, a completely unique voice, like no one has ever been. An absolute original, and that’s just the electric guitar playing. His acoustic guitar playing is another facet of brilliance and originality. His pedal steel playing is instantly recognizable as him; he had a singular voice on that instrument as well. Not to mention the banjo playing, the bluegrass roots, the folk roots, as well as the jazz inflections and rock & roll, and the blues, and ragtime music and everything that he brought. And the real ace is his singing which was also completely original and soulful and funny and filled with pathos and sympathy. There’s something in his voice we could all relate to, something piercing, something penetrating about his imperfect voice; he always sounded like he was half-crying, there was a yearning, just such a humane quality to his singing, something so common yet transcendent and extraordinary and other-worldly. And as he got older and his voice started to break down it became even more powerful in so many ways.
And just as a creative soul, putting the Grateful Dead movie together he had a filmmaker’s heart, such a complex, such a deep, soulful musician with a great sense of humor on top of it all. With all of that it was always a laugh at the end of it and just wanting people to dance and have a good time. That’s why we’re still here and 100 years from now it’s still gonna be happening.