Who doesn’t love a good musical? Mixed with the melodies and lyrics of the supernatural songwriting squad of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, RED ROSES, GREEN GOLD has all the ingredients for a musical full of magic and merriment. With longtime family keyboardist, Jeff Chimenti, tasked with musical supervision and arrangement, plus additional music contributions by Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann, this storied canon and legacy could not possibly be in better hands.
A comedy set in 1920’s Cumberland, RED ROSES, GREEN GOLD tells the outlandish tale of a family of swindlers led by a patriarch named Jackson Jones. The majority of songs are drawn from the duo of seminal albums, American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead. And with a special attention to Deadhead attendees, “STAND UP & BOOGIE DOWN Seating” is available.
Performances began on October 11th, and the official opening is fast approaching on October 29th at the Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village, New York City. Head to RedRosesGreenGold.com for tickets and further information, but first…
The folks running the show were kind enough to offer Stand For Jam a pair of vouchers for a ticket giveaway contest! If you win, you will be able to request a free pair of tickets for the date you want to attend RED ROSES, GREEN GOLD.
As a Deadhead with an appreciation for the vast musical influences that the members of the Grateful Dead have drawn from over their storied careers, I would like to think I am as musically open minded as it gets. Yet time and time again I find myself reaching for an old show, or my beat-up vinyl copy of American Beauty, over another artist’s album. They say awareness is the first step to combatting a problem, and I am oh so aware of my inclination to stick to what I know – which makes the ever-expanding Grateful Dead family of artists, in the years since Jerry Garcia passed, such a helpful phenomenon. Over the years, I’ve become versed in the exceptional stylings of Jackie Greene as he’s traversed Deadosphere – and through his work with Phil Lesh, and others in the jam band world, Anders Osborne‘s impeccable reputation precedes himself. Yet while walking into The Space At Westbury this past Friday, my knowledge of these two talent’s original work was still limited.
So when heading through the doors of the recently and immaculately restored Tudor style auditorium, minimal expectations were had other than the hope for good tunes and a desire for a Grateful Dead cover or two. Those paltry expectations were immediately met, and immeasurably exceeded as soon as Anders & Jackie strapped in for what would be a euphonious ninety-minute acoustic escapade. Timing is everything, and while I missed the opening stanza by Cris Jacobs, it seemed as if they were waiting for my party’s arrival, as in only a moment after scurrying to our fifth-row seats, the houselights dimmed and the main event began. And in a fateful turn, Cris Jacobs joined Anders and Jackie on a few tunes, showcasing his commensurate skills on the acoustic guitar and conveying the very reason he was chosen as an opening act for this tour.
From the first notes strummed, it was readily apparent that the show’s billing as “sitting around, singing songs – an acoustic evening” did not mean it would be a mellow evening as these two musical troubadours emerged on stage with an air of vigor and vibrancy – and they hardly sat around, aside from a few turns Jackie took behind the keys. While Anders and Jackie shared the stage for a number of unplugged shows earlier this year, the chemistry exhibited between these two poetic players was palpable on an otherworldly level. An attendee remarked at show’s end that he has “heard both artists solo – nothing compares to the chemistry that they put forward together.” Kindred spirits bound through musical mastery, the camaraderie displayed onstage is seldom present even in players that have toured together for years, yet these two embodied that quality with ease.
Through their set, Anders and Jackie took turns taking lead on their own original tunes. From Anders’ laying his soul to bare on the contemplative “Burning Up Slowly,” or the heart tugging ballad “I Need You,” to the boys (including Cris Jacobs) trading licks on the feel-good anthem “Lafayette,” Anders’ tunes ran the gamut and evoked emotional responses from the audience all across the spectrum. And Jackie’s soulful songs did much the same – from the down to earth “I Don’t Live In A Dream,” to the folksy “Tupelo,” Jackie showcased his versatile skills, from impeccable songwriter, to full-throated vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. His substantive take on the gospel of Blind Willie Johnson with “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” transformed the venue to another time, another place, and left audience members to ponder their own personal plight towards the metaphorical fork in the road between salvation and damnation. In the end, we finally got our Grateful Dead tribute to boot. As Cris Jacobs traversed the stage once more, the trio busted out a raucous version of “New Speedway Boogie,” and mid-verse, in the midst of an audience singalong, Jackie proclaimed, “fuckin’ Deadheads everywhere!” Well ain’t that the truth.
As with the Grateful Dead, these two Princes of Americana channel the very best of the American musical landscape into their own special blend of awesomeness. With a respect towards tradition, and an aim towards innovation and originality, there’s nothing like catching these guys in the flesh. If Jackie is the soul of this ensemble, then Anders is the heartbeat, as each brought their singularly extraordinary talents into play, and manifested an unparalleled symbiotic scene. With jokes and quick witticisms in between songs, they materialized an atmosphere of lightheartedness and levity making for a night of seamless serenity and sonic sorcery. These songsmiths continue onwards with ‘Tourgether 2017’ and have several more dates on the horizon. Enjoy the below videos – yet they are only an amuse-bouche – you’ll have to catch the show for the main course.
“Does this white light make me look fat? Good I’ve been trying to gain a couple pounds!” – Anders Osborne
“Lafayette” – Anders Osborne (video by bklynwmn)
“I Don’t Live In A Dream” – Jackie Greene
“Nobody’s Fault But Mine” – Blind Willie Johnson Cover
Yesterday I woke up to news alerts on my phone – another shooting, what else is new? While relatively numb to this uniquely American phenomenon, this mass tragedy was immensely different – music festival goers were violently gunned down in Las Vegas. This one hit close to home – music was under assault. Thinking the day couldn’t possibly get worse, the news came through that Tom Petty was found in cardiac arrest and unresponsive – again thinking the day couldn’t possibly get worse, false reports of his death came through the airwaves spiraling Monday into a foggy haze of misinformation. While reports of his death were premature, he would later slip this mortal coil and join the likes of his Traveling Wilburys compatriots, Roy Orbison and George Harrison.
I cannot help but think of the day George Harrison passed away. Too young, too soon, dreariness draped that otherwise serene fall afternoon. Yesterday was similarly beautiful and became immensely ickier – the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, coupled with the death of a Mount Rushmore level rock icon, brought us to the precipice of emotional chaos – then our hearts were collectively thrown in a blender, muddied with media misinformation. Now with the knowledge of what actually occurred, America sits in mourning. Music was burned on both ends of the candle yesterday – the audience attacked, and a performer taken down.
The day the music died 2.0 – was this what fans felt like that fateful moment discovering the destiny of Buddy, Ritchie, and the Big Bopper? The emotional stew we find ourselves in must have been similar to what was experienced in February of ’59. Yet they survived, and so will we – and the music never really died at all, did it? Within a few short years, the rock ‘n’ roll scene thrived like never before, as will the festival scene, and the music scene at large right now. I have a feeling we won’t miss a beat – however the cold harsh reality now exists that music festivals, concerts, and gatherings are now active targets of terrorism, domestic or otherwise.
Vigilance is now necessary – our favorite escape from the mediocrity of daily existence has been tarnished by the violence of the outside world. How we go about making our scene safe for fans and performers alike at outdoor music events is very much above my pay grade, yet I’m sure the right people are already working on plans. Hopefully they strike a proper balance between security and serenity.
One way or another, the show must go on, and it will go on. In memoriam of Tom Petty and festival goers gunned down, tribute concerts and events are already being planned – and coincidentally one event that was already in play will now be a fitting memorial. Tom Petty’s music will radiate brightly across the world as we come to terms with these monumental losses. Precautions will be taken, and our escape from the day-to-day will be upheld. Music was violated, yet music will be the very thing that heals us all. “One way or another, this darkness got to give,” and as Mickey Hart poignantly said in response to the Paris attacks on the Bataclan and elsewhere, nearly two years ago, “music is the best healing agent we know.” Music is our lifeblood, one of our quintessential reasons for being, and it can never be silenced.