4AD / Remote Control Records have announced the release of Day Of The Dead, a celebration of the Grateful Dead’s music created and curated by brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National.
For both Aaron and Bryce, the Grateful Dead were a gateway to playing music together; the first music the brothers investigated deeply. The two recall their first-ever jam session at 14 years old with The National’s future drummer Bryan Devendorf playing the Dead’s ‘Eyes of the World’ for several hours in Bryan’s attic in suburban Ohio. The brothers were drawn not just to the Dead’s songwriting, but also to the detail, spontaneity, and depth in the instrumentation. A life-long love affair with the Dead, shared with the Devendorfs, was born in those teenage years and crested when The National were invited to play a HeadCount.org fundraiser with Bob Weir in March 2012. The band assembled for this event learned over 25 Grateful Dead songs, and most of those players went on to form the “house band” heard on many of Day of the Dead’s tracks.
The compilation is a wide-ranging tribute to the songwriting and experimentalism of the Dead which took four years to record, and features over 60 artists from varied musical backgrounds, 59 tracks and is almost 6 hours long. Produced by Aaron Dessner, and co-produced by Bryce Dessner and Josh Kaufman, many of the tracks feature an all-star house band made up of Aaron, Bryce, fellow National bandmates and brothers Scott and Bryan Devendorf, Josh Kaufman, and Conrad Doucette along with Sam Cohen and Walter Martin. The record shows the broad reaching impact and legacy of the Grateful Dead, both culturally and musically.
Day of the Dead is out digitally and on 5 x CDs today via 4AD / Remote Control Records. A limited edition vinyl boxed set will follow later in the year. All profits will help fight for AIDS / HIV and related health issues around the world through the Red Hot Organisation. This is the 20th album of original music produced by Red Hot to further its mission and the follow up to 2009’s Dark Was The Night (4AD), a 32-track, multi-artist compilation also produced by Aaron and Bryce for Red Hot. Dark Was The Night has raised over $1.5 million to date for the organisations fighting AIDS.