The American Beauty Project

In a burst of creative energy, the Grateful Dead recorded two of their best albums in a single year: American Beauty in March 1970 and Workingman’s Dead in August and September 1970. Both feature a blend of folk, rock, bluegrass and country music so innovative it resulted in both being listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

To celebrate the albums’ 35th anniversary, producer David Spelman organized a two-evening tribute he called the American Beauty Project. The show, held at the World Financial Center, reflected much of the spirit of a Grateful Dead performance. The assembled crowd ranged from babies in tie-dyed onesies to elderly couples leaning on walkers. It included both the anticipated core of nostalgic Dead Heads and hippies and an unexpectedly large contingent of the Wall Street denizens who live in the area.

The concert, hosted by legendary DJ John Schaefer, presented a diverse roster of artists who performed their own arrangements of the Grateful Dead’s groundbreaking music. Tonight’s lineup included:

  • Uncle John’s Band by Ollabelle with Larry Campbell
  • High Time by the Holmes Brothers and Catherine Russell
  • Dire Wolf by Larry Campbell with Teresa Williams and Rob Barraco
  • New Speedway Boogie by Catherine Russell and Larry Campbell
  • Cumberland Blues by the Klezmatics
  • Black Peter by Jim Lauderdale with John Leventhal, Brandon Ross and friends
  • Easy Wind by Tim O’Reagan (the Jayhawks)
  • Casey Jones by Railroad Earth
  • Encore: Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
  • Plus instrumental interludes by Andy Statman, Tony Trischka, Kerryn Tolhurst and David Spelman.

  • The crowd in the World Financial Center
    Originally uploaded by annulla.

    Catherine Russell
    Originally uploaded by annulla.

    Andy Statman
    Originally uploaded by annulla.

    The Klezmatics
    Originally uploaded by annulla.

    The American Beauty Project
    Originally uploaded by annulla.

    John Schaefer & Larry Campbell
    Originally uploaded by annulla.

    Originally uploaded by annulla.

    Jim Lauderdale & the Klezmatics
    Originally uploaded by annulla.

    MySpace: American Beauty Project
    Grateful Dead News: American Beauty Project Interview
    Jam Base: The American Beauty Project
    Variety: American Beauty Project
    John Schaefer on WNYC
    New York Guitar Festival

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