Friday, July 3, 2015

Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith on The Grateful Dead

Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes (photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The online-only Glide Magazine has posted an interview with Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes as part of its Easy Answers series.  Each installment of Easy Answers asks a (sometimes unexpected) musician to describe the importance of Grateful Dead music in his or her life.

It's no surprise to me that the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia have had a significant impact on Taylor Goldsmith - not just in his guitar playing which has elements of Garcia's touch, but also in his delivery of the rock ballad.  Nobody did that better than Jerry, but Dawes comes pretty close.  Here are some highlights from the interview.

What is your personal favorite Grateful Dead song and why?
(Goldsmith) This changes all the time. At different times it’s been “Unbroken Chain”, “Box Of Rain”, “Ship Of Fools”, “Stella Blue”, “Looks Like Rain”, “Shakedown Street”, among others…but if I were to play a first time listener one song by the Grateful Dead that best represented the best of their songwriting, the guitar playing, the harmonies and the singular way they play off of each other, in my opinion, I’d put on “Jack Straw”. So I guess that says a lot.

What is your favorite era of the Grateful Dead and why?
(Goldsmith) I really love Reckoning. With that record it felt like I fell in love with them all over again. They were playing in such a new and interesting way and between that funny sound of Jerry’s direct input acoustic, Brent’s playing at the time, and listening to them hold back and play so much quieter than I had ever heard. I also loved knowing they released another equally incredible live electric record with Dead Set in that same year. It’s hard to say it’s my “favorite”, but it has definitely left its stamp with me that might not be as easily distinguishable as other era’s.

What do you feel is the greatest misconception a lot of people outside the Dead’s circle have of the band?
(Goldsmith) Two things: that it was ever about anything other than the music for those guys and that the culture that surrounded them was a product of the band. All of the extraneous elements of their public conception were just a product of their deeply devoted fans. I think those aspects have been a blessing and a curse. A lot of people misjudge the band before ever hearing the music, but at the same time, they have arguably the most committed and unique fans a band could ever ask for.

Read the full interview here:

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