I have been listening a lot recently to ‘Day of the Dead‘. It’s a 59 track, near 6 hour, tribute album to The Grateful Dead, compiled by The National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner. I’ve never been a Grateful Dead fan, and indeed know next to nothing about the band, but their songs seem to lend themselves well to interpretation. Perhaps the fact they were a jam band, re-interpreting their own songs every night explains this.
Anyhow, it’s a fantastic album, featuring a lot of US indie artists, but also covering folk, country, African music, jazz and even electronica. Not only that, but all profits go to charity (Red Hot), so if anyone is looking for an insanely expensive Christmas present for me this year, the 10 vinyl edition of this would be an excellent choice.
Of the many great arrangements on this album, my favourite is this by Bonnie “Prince” Billy. He crops up in a couple of other places on the album, but this sparse piano arrangement of ‘If I Had The World To Give’ showcases his gorgeous world-weary voice to perfection. Simple, beautiful, affecting.