While thankfulness is inherent to a Deadhead’s makeup, oftentimes, we don’t stop and fully let our gratitude overwhelm us. The Skull & Roses Music Festival in Ventura, California this April 2nd-5th will easily remedy that. Offering a most wonderful setting in a most sacred spot, Skull & Roses provides the perfect opportunity to allow our appreciation to soar. I sense the familiar thrill rise within me as I digest this year's lineup— Billy & the Kids, Oteil & Friends, Jeff Chimenti, Steve Kimock, and George Porter Jr.
Dead Floyd is a four-piece band based out of Fort Collins Colorado. They formed in 2009 and have been delighting audiences everywhere they perform. They have very successfully combined the music of the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd into a sound and light extravaganza. The highly talented and diverse musicianship in this band enables them to not only perform the music as it was, but to also carry it beyond their predecessors in new and modern directions.
Vince Herman came from a musical family, inspired by his grandfather that would sing on holidays when he had a drink or two. He began guitar lessons in the third grade from a local accordion player in a polka band. By the time he reached high school, he had found bluegrass while sipping moonshine and listening to Bill Monroe sing Walls of Time. By 1980, Vince found the Grateful Dead and we are all better for that magic event. Leftover Salmon celebrated its 30th anniversary under the Big Top on New Years' Eve 2019.
Karina Rykman is one of those bass players that can fit into any musical scenario. With her infectious smile and general upbeat way about her, she brings life into every project she is a part of. Whether it be the trio of Marco Benevento or her own, Karina Rykman Experiment, you know the energy will be flowing with every bass note from Ms. Rykman.
Molly Tuttle began her musical journey as a kid growing up in the Bay Area of California. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, she is transforming the roots of Americana into a sound uniquely her own. IMBA named her guitarist of the year 2017 and in 2018. The Americana Music Association named her Instrumentalist of the Year 2018. With her first solo album release, When You’re Ready, she is poised to contribute new and fresh thoughts into a genre that can desperately use it.
Those familiar with the phenomenal exploratory bands Phil Lesh & Friends, Moonalice, and David Nelson Band are likely familiar with guitar virtuoso Barry Sless. His Pedal Steel guitar has transformed beloved Grateful Dead classics such as “Box of Rain,” “Peggy O,” “Pride of Cucamonga,” and “Cumberland Blues” into full-fledged country-rock bliss that Jerry Garcia is no doubt smiling down on.
As another new year rolls in, I can’t say how excited I am to see the Grateful Dead family not only thriving but flourishing. We Deadheads can take pride in having become a borderless, boundless global community where a simple Steal-Your-Face sticker on your pack and a smile will find you a safe haven. And with thankfulness being one of the defining criteria of a Deadhead for the life-changing, enlightening experience the Dead brought to our lives, we have a healthy desire to express that gratitude. What is “it” we’re so thankful for?