JamBase: Greensky Bluegrass & Cris Jacobs Band Honor Jerry Garcia In Baltimore

Members of Greensky Bluegrass and Cris Jacobs Band have never hidden their love of the Grateful Dead as both groups often perform songs written by Jerry Garcia and company. So it was only fitting the two acts would collaborate on three Jerry/Grateful Dead classics for their encore on Thursday night at MECU Pavilion in Baltimore on Garcia’s birthday.

Baltimore’s own Cris Jacobs Band kicked off the festivities ahead of two sets from Greensky. GSBG got their opening frame off the ground with a pairing of “Dustbowl Overtures” and “Run Or Die” before digging deep into their repertoire for the first “Can’t Make Time” since February. A cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freight Liner Blues” would be followed by the beloved “Windshield,” the band’s recently debuted take on “Quitter” by Dawes and staples “Blood Sucking F(r)iends” and “All Four.”

Greensky Bluegrass put the focus on originals in the second set beyond a take on Bill Monroe’s “Wheel Hoss.” The quintet started the stanza with “Fixin’ To Ruin” and included such favorites as “Demons,” “Bring Out Your Dead” and “Kerosene.” A long encore break allowed crew members to prepare the stage for all nine musicians. Two drum sets were prepared and surprisingly Greensky guitarist Dave Bruzza used one and unsurprisingly Cris Jacobs Band drummer Dusty Ray Simmons used the other.

The Greensky Bluegrass/Cris Jacobs Band encore and tribute to Jerry Garcia began with a beautiful version of “Wharf Rat” sung by GSBG mandolinist Paul Hoffman. Then, Jacobs handled lead vocals on a euphoric rendition of “Scarlet Begonias.” All nine musicians took their time expertly working through the transition jam that linked “Scarlet” to “Fire On The Mountain.” It was Bruzza was sang “Fire” from behind the drum set. The “Scarlet”/”Fire” spanned 14 minutes and was a Greensky debut as was “Wharf Rat.”

Watch Greensky Bluegrass & Cris Jacobs Band perform “Wharf Rat,” “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire On The Mountain” thanks to video captured by Ben Wilson:

Setlist (via Camp Greensky)

Set One: Dustbowl Overtures > Run or Die, Can’t Make Time, White Freightliner Blues, Windshield, Quitter (1), Blood Sucking F(r)iends (2) > All Four (2)(3)(4)

Set Two: Fixin to Ruin (5)(6), Wheel Hoss, Room Without a Roof, Demons (7)(8), Cathedral Eyes, Before Bring Out Your Dead > Bring Out Your Dead, Wish I Didn’t Know > Exhuberance > Kerosene

Encore: Wharf Rat (9)(10) > Scarlet Begonias (9)(10) > Fire on the Mountain (9)(10)

(1) – Dedicated to John Way

(2) – Dedicated to Mike Schmidt

(3) – Lyric change “40 efforts in the air”

(4) – Lyric change “Trade 40 years for this”

(5) – w/ Keith Kinnear (woodblock) x2

(6) – Lyric change “Schmidt!!!”

(7) – Lyric change “Schmidt, Schmidt“

(8) – Lyric change “Molly Groat & Christian Schaumann“

(9) – w/ Cris Jacobs Band

(10) – Bruzza on drums