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LGM Film Club, Part 316: Grateful Dawg

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I did not get my life together enough this week to finish my music notes post, so that is going to wait til next week and be extra long. But I did watch Grateful Dawg last night, the 2000 film by David Grisman’s daughter Gillian about the friendship and playing together between her father and Jerry Garcia. Yeah, it’s a film about a couple of middle aged hippies who play with some younger annoying hippies of my generation. What can I say, I still fucking hate hippies. But I can’t hate the music of Grisman or Garcia, alone or together. They are simply great musicians who sound great together. The documentary itself is very whatever. Like many films about Garcia after his death, it mythologizes the man who mythologized himself in between his many moments of smoking heroin that no one knew about or talked about anyway until his 1995 death. I love the Grateful Dead but I have to separate myself from the terrible culture they quite self-consciously created around themselves, especially Garcia.

But in the end, Garcia was a great American musician who was deeply embedded in the American traditions. So is Grisman, who still picks today. These are guys who knew bluegrass, folk, old-time, jazz, and rock and roll, plus blues and country on top of it. Their music covers all of those bases. I don’t think their work together quite reaches the point of being groundbreaking, but it sure is good music. I’ve seen both of them live once, but I wish I had seen them together. Even if I would have hated most of the other people in the crowd.

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