This month, we’re featuring the untitled album by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman.

On July 10, 1986, Jerry Garcia slipped into an almost fatal diabetic coma for five days. It was the result of an abscessed tooth, according to the Grateful Dead’s spokesman at the time. After recovering, the rock legend had to completely relearn to play guitar. Fortunately, Jerry Garcia did make a comeback — in more ways than one.

Five months after Jerry emerged from his coma, the Grateful Dead returned to performing. Jerry later explored other music ventures, including forming his own band, the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band. In 1990, Jerry and celebrated mandolinist David Grisman performed together for the first time publicly at Sweetwater in Mill Valley, Calif.

Although Garcia and Grisman didn’t play publicly together until the 90s, their history actually dated back decades. Garcia and Grisman met at bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe’s 1964 concert, held at a nightclub in Pennsylvania. Following that chance meeting, the two formed the short-lived bluegrass outfit “Old and in the Way” in the 1970s. Old friends, Garcia even had a nickname for Grisman —”Dawg.” It later became the term used to describe Grisman’s music, a unique blend of bluegrass, folk and jazz. For a 15-year-period, the two went their separate ways, as Jerry Garcia’s career took off as the front man for the Grateful Dead and Grisman launched a solo career.

Years later, an unplanned encounter once again reunited the two performers. Leading up to Garcia’s untimely passing from a heart attack at age 53, the two recorded together as often as possible. A documentary was even filmed to capture their musical relationship, entitled “A Grateful Dawg.” It was directed by Grisman’s daughter, Gillian.

The jam sessions with Grisman were especially refreshing for Garcia, who had played the same type of music day in, day out with the Grateful Dead. Some of the songs from those sessions landed on the untitled album by Garcia and Grisman. A mix of eclectic folk and bluegrass, the album is lively — and the playing is crisp and clean.

The Track You Won’t Want To Miss:

For nostalgic reasons, we love the remake of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil.” If you’re looking for something new and exotic though, you’ll be enchanted by “Arabia.” The Rolling Stone describes it as, “a compelling, suitelike excursion into Middle Eastern modality that sustains its exotic mood and momentum for over sixteen minutes.”

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