How about any Sturgill Simpson super fans? If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, then Simpson’s appearance on stage with Grateful Dead leadman Bob Weir will surely act as a pleasant surprise.
At 75-years-old, Weir is still happily getting out on stage and sharing the psychedelic tunes that have connected with one of the most passionate group of music fans since the 1960’s.
“Dead Heads” have effectively been following around some iteration of the band (Grateful Dead, Dead and Company, Bob Weir and the Wolf Bros) for almost 60 years.
Many thought the Dead would slowly break apart following the death of lead singer and guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995. However, as their popular song alludes to, “The Music Never Stopped,” and some form or fashion of the Grateful Dead has continued to plug along (rather successfully) into the 21st century.
And how they’ve managed to do that is by bringing in other artists not to fill the shoes of the late, great Garcia, but rather honor the role of the former singer and guitarist.
Singer song-writer (and underrated guitar player) John Mayer stepped in for the last decade or so to play with the Dead, but it appears that he might be stepping away as the band just wrapped up their “Farewell Tour” this past summer.
Which leads me to recklessly speculate: could Sturgill Simpson be stepping into yet another iteration of the Grateful Dead? There’s a chance he was just there at Farm Aid at the same time and happily accepted an invitation from Weir to play along with him and his band, but I’m hoping there’s something more to it.
Simpson has delved into psychedelic rock and country music in the past, so it wouldn’t be a stretch for him to team up with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. To be honest, it could be an even better fit than John Mayer was, and that’s saying something considering how the Dead Heads welcomed in “Uncle John.”
At the end of the day, its just great to see Sturgill playing music again. His acting career has picked up a lot of steam in recent years, and we’re all happy for him, but music fans would love for Simpson to start putting out music at the pace that he did when he initially broke onto the scene.
However, fresh off a vocal chord injury, I imagine he’s gonna take his time getting back on stage, carefully choosing his spots.
Would it suffice Sturgill Simpson fans if that “new music” we’ve been looking for came in the version of live Grateful Dead songs? Personally, I’d be okay with it, but you can be the judge by taking in performances of “Dark Star” and “Not Fade Away” (with Margo Price and Lukas Nelson) below: