I’ll be holding down the fort this week while Nancy LeTourneau enjoys a much-deserved vacation. To help fill up a little of the void, I figure it’s a good idea to revive an Ed Kilgore practice of giving you some good tunes to begin your day.

On this day in 1942, Jerome John “Jerry” Garcia was born in San Francisco. He was named after Jerome Kern. He’s best known for his guitar work with the Grateful Dead where he teamed up with poet/songwriter Robert Hunter to create a huge catalogue of classic American songs. But he actually got started on the banjo, and some of his greatest recordings and performances were on that instrument.

In 1975, a bluegrass supergroup he had formed two years earlier released a self-titled album called Old & in the Way. It’s still one of the best selling bluegrass albums of all time. I learned earlier today that there’s actually a tribute band for Old & in the Way, which must be the only tribute band in the world dedicated to playing the music of basically just one album. As a bit of trivia, the recording engineer for the album was Owsley “Bear” Stanley.

Garcia died in 1995 in his sleep from cardiac arrest. At the time, he was in a rehabilitation center trying to beat his opioid addiction. If he were alive today, he’d be 74 years old.

Here’s my favorite tune off the Old & in the Way album.

I hope that puts a smile on your face this morning.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com