As a classic rock level fan of the Grateful Dead, I never dug into who did what when where why and on which album tour tape whatever. Beyond recognizing Jerry Garcia in photos, I didn’t really know much about the band or its evolution. The first time I gave any thought to the creation of their songs happened in Nashville at the Ryman.
During the Americana Awards show one year, Robert Hunter won a lifetime achievement award. I had no idea who he was. Well, by the end of the night, I knew he was the Grateful Dead lyricist for almost every song I liked from the band, and he made me cry my eyes out in the balcony while he sang “Ripple.” Hunter got me. Gutted me. What a beautiful song!
Since that night, I dug in a bit more to the Dead. Specifically, I realized that Robert Hunter lyrics are the ones that grab me. While I’ll never call myself a Deadhead, I absolutely love a heckuva lot of their songs.