The National complete all-star Grateful Dead tribute with Courtney Barnett, Wilco and more
After several years of working on a benefit compilation of Grateful Dead covers, The National have announced the track list and contributors of their Day of the Dead box-set. The 59-song album is the second all-star project members of The National have put together for AIDS organization Red Hot, following up 2009’s Dark Was the Night.
This go around features Dead covers and collaborations by The War on Drugs, Courtney Barnett, Hiss Golden Messenger, Sharon Van Etten, Lucius, Lucinda Williams, Lee Ranaldo, Anohni, Angel Olsen, Charles Bradley, The Flaming Lips, Kurt Vile, The Walkmen and more. The list is so jam-packed it’s hard to single out a selection, but suffice it to say the line-up is diverse in both genre and era with some special appearances by Bob Weir and The Band’s Garth Hudson.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s Will Oldham (who recorded “If I Had the World to Give” for the LP) told Pitchfork:
I have worked with a few people whose minds are brilliant and complicated, musically. There’s something about the Dead that allows these big-brained pickers to just chill the fuck out and feel good about it. There’s basic types of song forms and melodies that I have an affinity for, and the Grateful Dead have helped other people find their ways into these musics. So it isn’t as hard to establish connections with folks out there that might not otherwise share some of what I am digging into.
Day of Dead will be out on May 20th via 4AD Records and benefits the Red Hot Organization to fight AIDS and HIV.
Check out The War on Drugs playing “Touch of Grey” (a frequent setlist item for them during Slave Ambient shows) below, followed by Bob Weir joining Wilco on “Bird Song” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Learn more about the album here.