The National Enlist Courtney Barnett And Others For Grateful Dead Tribute Album
Written by Michael Carr on 22nd February, 2016
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And to make things even more exciting, it’s been curated by The National.
Packing over 59 tracks and more than six hours worth of music, the project has been in the making since 2011. It features the likes of The War On Drugs, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear, Phosphorescent and the brilliantly named Marijuana Deathsquads among scores of others, but Barnett is the only Aussie on the list (as much as we’d like to claim Kiwis Unknown Mortal Orchestra for ourselves).
C-Barn’s involvement in the project was at first hinted at by a series of now-deleted tweets from Rolling Stone US writer Will Hermes (check em out here via Jambase), but has since been confirmed by The National’s Aaron Dessner, who told The Music that the tribute “features pretty much all of our friends, and people we look up to”.
“There’s the guys from Grizzly Bear, and Justin Vernon, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Courtney Barnett, Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth, Stephen Malkmus, War On Drugs, Phosphorescent… it goes on and on,” he said.
“There’s literally over 60 artists. It’s kinda crazy. It started out as fun, but then it became this giant thing. Hopefully it becomes a cultural document of the way which, these legendary old bands, their music seeps into culture over the years. There’s all these radically different interpretations, which I find interesting.”
While no official release details have been announced, the now-withdrawn tweets had Barnett pegged to be covering New Speedway Boogie (see the full tracklist of the album below). Still, don’t hold your breath for a release any time soon, as Dessner is busy at work on new material for The National.
“At this stage, we’re still writing,” he said. “We have a pool of about 20 songs, but we’re writing as we’re recording. It’s hard to say exactly how what we have will translate to the finished album. I’d say we’re about six months to a year away from being done with it.”
However, as Stereogum notes, and once again going on Hermes’ now-deleted tweets, the tribute album’s live debut is set to take place at this year’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in August.
In the meantime though, feast your eyes on the full tracklist here below.
Watch: Grateful Dead – New Speedway Boogie Live 1970
Grizzly Bear & The National — Terrapin Station Suite
The Flaming Lips — Dark Star
Tallest Man On Earth & Friends — Ship Of Fools
Jim James & Friends — Candyman
Courtney Barnett — New Speedway Boogie
Justin Vernon & Bruce Hornsby — Black Muddy River
The War On Drugs — Touch Of Grey
Unknown Mortal Orchestra — Shakedown Street
Kurt Vile & J Mascis — Box Of Rain
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks — China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider
Phosphorescent — Standing On The Moon
Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo) & Friends — Wharf Rat
Perfume Genius w/ Sharon Van Etten & Friends — To Lay Me Down
Marijuana Death Squad — Truckin’
Tunde Adebimpe w/ Lee Ranaldo & Friends — Playing In The Band
The Walkmen — Ripple
Vijay Iyer — King Solomon’s Marbles
Tal Natinoal — Eyes Of The World
Angel Olsen — Attics Of My Life
Fucked Up — Cream Puff War
Orchestra Baobab — Franklin’s Tower
Antony — Black Peter
Lucius — Uncle John’s Band
The National — Morning Dew
The National — Peggy-O
Wilco w/ Bob Weir — St Stephen
Also featuring unattributed covers by Sam Cohen, Josh Kaufman, Conrad Doucette, Joe Russo, Real Estate, Bela Fleck, Terry Riley, Charles Bradley, Cass McCombs, Will Oldham, yMusic, Sam Amidon, The Wood Brothers and others.