Jerry Garcia had many different sides. So it’s no wonder that he and the Grateful Dead have inspired so many tribute bands, many of which take on one specific aspect of the band. In the case of Painted Mandolin, the focus is exclusively on Garcia’s acoustic work. That includes acoustic material from the Grateful Dead, Garcia’s solo work, and the handful of other bands and collaborations he was involved with.
“He’s famous for being an electric guitarist, but he’s a very good acoustic guitarist also,” says guitarist/mandolin player Larry Graff. “People love Jerry acoustic. They’re very accepting of him. People that aren’t Deadheads would like this music more because it covers a wide range of styles.”
Indeed, even if most people imagine long, spaced-out psychedelic jams when they think of Garcia and the Grateful Dead, some of the most respected music they released was acoustic. The two 1970 Grateful Dead records (Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty) include a lot of bluegrass, folk and country influences—and it’s considered by many critics to be some of their best work.
Painted Mandolin covers both the acoustic songs of Garcia’s and the songs he was fond of covering. That includes tunes by Miles Davis, B.B. King, Ralph Stanley and many others. The project is also significant in that it’s the first local Grateful Dead or Jerry Garcia tribute band to feature both guitarists Matt Hartle and Graff. Also in the band is Roger Sideman (bass) and Joe Craven, who used to play with the Garcia/Grisman Band (percussion, mandolin, fiddle).
“Matt and I lead all the Dead bands in this city. We’ve always wanted to play together. So here’s an opportunity for us to do something together that wasn’t being done before, and that’s an acoustic situation,” says Graff.
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 4. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $15. 335-2800