Jerry Garcia looked around the Grateful Dead’s rehearsal studio in San Rafael, California, and smiled. “It’s good to not die,” said Garcia, who suffered a nearly fatal diabetic coma in July of ’86. The legendary guitarist whose mercurial improvisations are the life’s blood of the Grateful Dead’s music has made a miraculous recovery from an illness that at first left him incapable of walking, speaking clearly or playing.
What a difference a year makes. In February 1969, the Grateful Dead recorded a series of shows at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore West in the hope of finally capturing on tape the psychedelic alchemy of their already legendary onstage interplay. The double album Live Dead, released in November that year, showcased the Dead at their adventurous and exploratory acid-peak best and cemented their reputation as the premier jamming band of the era.
Well, we've come to the halfway point of the year—and then some. It's time to look back at what has, so far, been a strong year for music, one in which the guitar has been pushed to new creative peaks on new albums in an array of genres.
With a lot of talent and a little bit of luck, a new generation of acoustic guitar fingerstylists are blazing a new style of percussive, alternate-tuned shred. In the Eighties, radical fingerstylists like Michael Hedges and Preston Reed pioneered an acoustic guitar style based on an alternate-tuned, percussion-heavy, new age–tinged sound.
As part of a wedding band, you learn some valuable lessons, such as it's not always about you. But that's all right. The job is to keep the guests on the dance floor and singing along to every tune. With this set list in hand, everyone will live happily ever after, or at least until the bar runs dry.
Dixon, who—as we've implied above—was born July 1, 1915, was primarily a bassist and singer, but a bassist and singer who happened to write hundreds of incredible, often dark and eerie songs, several of which found their way in the catalogs of the biggest artists of the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and beyond.
Many people believe that possessing talent alone is enough to guarantee an artist success in the music business. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a perfect world, the best musicians—the best guitarists—would be amply rewarded for their abilities. The music business, however, is far from perfect.