Jerry Garcia – Remembering the Legend 15 Years Later

Jerry Garcia

August 9, 2010 marked the fifteenth year anniversary of the death of Jerry Garcia. Jerry was the heart and soul of a brotherhood of sound. The leader of a generations tribe. A player so well seeped in a variety of styles that the only way to classify his guitar playing was to say that it was Jerry.

Jerry Garcia held a place in so many of our hearts. He has left a void in the music world that can only be filled with memories of those old Dead shows: of the parking lots, filled with the unusual sights, sounds, and smells; of the travelers that made a Dead tour a way of life; of the solos that would take you out of your head and transport you into the stratosphere. The bearded barb of San Fran is missed throughout the music community.

His friends and influences are countless. Some of my favorite Jerry records were the ones he did away from the Dead and with other musicians. His work with Dave Grisman and Merl Saunders, for instance, has always stood out as places where Jerry explored his writing and playing chops. And, of course, the way he could play a Dylan song. Bob Dylan has been covered by almost everyone, but no one could pull the passion out of Dylan’s lyrics better than Garcia. And when you add his tasteful solos to the mix, the songs took on a different shape and color.

“There’s no way to measure his greatness as a person or as a player, I don’t think eulogizing will do him justice. He was that great — much more than a superb musician with an uncanny ear and dexterity. He is the very spirit personified of whatever is muddy river country … There’s a lot of spaces and advances between The Carter Family, Buddy Holly and, say, Ornette Coleman, a lot of universes, but he filled them all without being a member of any school… There’s no way to convey the loss. It just digs down really deep. He really had no equal.” –Bob Dylan

Jerry was 53 when he passed. There was so much more life left in him. So many more songs. So many more solos. It has been a long, strange, silent 15 year trip without him. He left us forever Grateful.

“You need music, I don’t know why. It’s probably one of those Joe Campbell questions, why we need ritual. We need magic, and bliss, and power, myth, and celebration and religion in our lives, and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it.”
–Jerry Garcia

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