The Grateful Dead spin-off Dead & Company is currently on the road for a summer tour, and it's getting a hearty thumbs-up from one former adjunct member of the original band.
Bruce Horsnby was part of the Dead during the early 90s and played during last year's Fare Thee Well tour; he had no interest in continuing on with Dead & Company but has high praise for what Dead mainstays Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann are doing with their new endeavor, which features John Mayer in the late Jerry Garcia's spot:
“They sound great. John Mayer has done a fantastic job of...OK, Garcia used to always talk about rock 'n' roll chromatacism, meaning that the black notes, finding a way to use the chromatic scale in rock and roll music...And John Mayer has done a great job of sort of internalizing that idea of playing that rock 'n' roll chromatacism, playing through the chords, not just playing in a scaler matter. He's playing through the chords like a jazz musician would, and that's how Jerry did it... When I heard them and heard John soloing I thought, 'Man, he has really done his homework and he sounds fantastic in a way that you don't hear a lot of people when they play the Dead's music."
Dead & Company is on the road through July 30, while Hornsby is touring to promote his just-released new album Rehab Reunion.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.