Mystery & Manners Honorary Southern Artist(s) Part Two
"I love the Dead. As far as Jerry Garcia, Jerry Garcia could walk on water. He could do anything any man could ever do. He's a prince."
The motivation for The Honorary Southern Artist hinges upon a non-southern artist who incorporated the influence from southern music (or any art form) into his own style. San Francisco native Jerry Garcia developed a love for southern blues and bluegrass musicians at an early age. He studied--among many others--Roscoe Holcomb, T-Bone Walker, Django Reinhardt, Albert King and Chuck Berry.
Garcia's band, The Grateful Dead, fused blues, country and jazz into their diverse repertory. Garcia and The Grateful Dead collaborated with musicians such as Bob Dylan, Doug Sahm, The Allman Brothers Band, Ornette Coleman, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Jefferson Airplane, Tom Waits, Ken Nordeen, Merl Suanders, Warren Zevon, New Riders of the Purple Sage and others.
The Grateful Dead played a role in the Acid Tests conducted often at the writer Ken Kesey's (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)home in La Honda where writer Hunter S. Thompson introduced the hippies to the Hells Angels. The Grateful Dead's spirit continued in the adventurous vein of Kerouac's On the Road. Garcia and The Grateful Dead often included great American cover songs by musicians such as Merle Haggard, Reverend Gary Davis, Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins--to name a few--in their set lists. Garcia also painted and created neckties before his death in 1995. Some of Garcia's greatest compositions such as "Casey Jones", "Ripple", "New Speedway Boogie", "Row Jimmy", "Brokedown Palace", "Deal", "Loser", "Stella Blue" and many others never stray far from the lowdown, backporch framework.
Garcia's songwriting partner, Robert Hunter, almost always wrote the lyrics to Garcia's music. In light of American musicians who drew from the wellspring of southern material and folklore, Jerry Garcia stands as a music purveyor.