This episode is dedicated to Neal Casal.
We honor the dead by living. Sometimes that’s not an easy thing to do. That’s why we’re grateful to have friends and music to get us through—it reaffirms our connection to what’s essential. American Beauty was written and recorded at a time when members of the Dead were bidding fare thee well to loved ones, and they channeled their grief on exquisitely sparse songs of heartbreak, hope, and resilience. From the high and lonesome to the rockin’ and rapturous, this record heralds the arrival of the Grateful Dead as songwriters who understood how to get their music across in the studio. This is a deeply human record that celebrates the joys and sorrows of being—there’s grace and grit in equal measures, with four-part harmonies to boot. You can put on at a backyard BBQ or become utterly enveloped in headphones. And crucially, American Beauty is good medicine. That’s something we all need from time to time.
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