This week’s featured artist is Jerry Garcia! Born Jerome John Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995), he was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for being a principal songwriter, the lead guitarist, and a vocalist with the rock band the Grateful Dead, of which he was a founding member and which came to prominence during the counterculture of the 1960s. Although he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or “spokesman” of the group.
As one of its founders, Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead for their entire 30-year career (1965–1995). Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects, released several solo albums, and contributed to a number of albums as a session musician.
Garcia was also renowned for his musical and technical ability, particularly his ability to play a variety of instruments and sustain long improvisations with the Grateful Dead. Garcia believed that improvisation took stress away from his playing and allowed him to make spur of the moment decisions that he would not have made intentionally. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Garcia noted that “my own preferences are for improvisation, for making it up as I go along. The idea of picking, of eliminating possibilities by deciding, that’s difficult for me”.
Garcia was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Grateful Dead in 1994, and was ranked 13th in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” cover story in 2003. In the 2015 version of the list he was ranked at #46.
Check below for a tab and live performance of the Grateful Dead song Touch of Grey!
What’s your favourite Grateful Dead or Jerry Garcia song? What do you think of his improvisations? We offer in-home and virtual lessons if you want to learn about the ongoing history of music from a professional!
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