Magazine article Anglican Journal

There and Back Again: Phil Leah & Friends

Magazine article Anglican Journal

There and Back Again: Phil Leah & Friends

Article excerpt

Phil Lesh & Friends

There and Back Again

Columbia / Sony

A NEW GIFT of life is always something special. A case in point is the first studio album by the quintet fronted by Phil Lesh, charter bassist for the pioneer jam band The Grateful Dead.

Now 62, Lesh received a liver transplant in 1998, and he fronts an ambitious ensemble that also includes lead guitarists Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule, Allman Brothers) and Jimmy Herring (Jazz Is Dead), drummer John Molo (Bruce Hornsby and the Range) and keyboardist Rob Barraco (Zen Tricksters).

The group stretches out and redefines Dead standards in concert, and now augments its repertoire with this 11-song set of 10 originals and a cover of the late-era Dead concert staple Liberty.

While Lesh's gift of new life is the most obvious, this project is also the revitalization of Robert Hunter, the inimitable primary lyricist for the Dead for their 30-year run. After band leader Jerry Garcia died in 1995, Hunter lost an outlet for his craft, but he has it again with this band; the album includes six of his songs.

It is not at all a stretch to suggest that the entire album, There and Back Again, is a celebration of the gift of life. …

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