[UPDATE 6/19/13]: Well, two years after this post first ran, we’ve finally got an update on The National’s Grateful Dead cover compilation. Bryce Dessner has told Billboard, “We’re just getting going this summer, probably…and a bunch of friends in bands, and then some surprising guests, are gonna hang out and smoke a lot of pot and record Grateful Dead songs.” With that in mind, we wanted to re-share the HT Staff’s list of covers we’d like to see included.
[Originally Published: 04/21/11] Last weekend at Coachella bassist Scott Devendorf of The National revealed to Spinner.com that his band is putting together a compilation record filled with Grateful Dead covers for the AIDS charity Red Hot. The Spinner-sourced story spread like wildfire with sites as diverse as Pitchfork, The Punk Site and JamBase all filling their readers in on Devendorf’s quotes showing the potential this compilation has to bridge the hipster/hippie divide.
While Devendorf told Spinner that The National is currently thinking about covering Box of Rain or Unbroken Chain and that Steve Reich, Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver are interested in participating, he didn’t reveal much about which groups and songs he’d like to see included on the compilation. So we rounded up the Hidden Track staff to offer suggestions for a list of covers we’d pick if it was up to us…
Jeff Tweedy – Brokedown Palace
Certain artists sing certain lyrics in certain songs in certain ways and it can just do magical things to you. Jerry Garcia was the absolute master of this, especially on Brokedown Palace. The way his voice creaked and cracked and exploded with emotion was one of the things that made each version of this Dead song special. Jeff Tweedy takes a similar approach with his vocals. Whether it’s a playful tone in Hummingbird or his scorching anger in Misunderstood, Tweedy sings from his heart and his balls, much like Jerry did. I’d love to hear Tweedy’s take on one of the Dead’s most delicate songs and one that Garcia owned every time he sang it. – Luke Sacks
Built To Spill – West L.A. Fadeaway
Doug Martsch, an anti-front man for the ages, has already covered The Dead with his psychedelic band of wailers Built To Spill, so they seemed an obvious choice to do another cover. Who better to deliver the drawn out vocal stylings of Jerry Garcia on this slinky, funk driven, ode to scoring dope? West LA Fadeaway could provide BTS with a great live jam similar to their take on Cortez The Killer from their Live album. Jagged, angular funk could ride in tandem with howling Strats and that oh-so-famous keyboard “wooosh.” Come on Dug, DO IT! – Wade Wilby