The Sound Of Drums
Today is August 9th.
Fourteen years ago Jerry Garcia died in his sleep, ending the life of the beast known as The Grateful Dead. Fourteen years ago today the endless tour which begin in 1967, and only briefly took a break in 1975, came to a screeching halt.
It’s a day that I, and legions of other Deadheads, will never forget. At his funeral, Robert Hunter gave the eulogy. In it he asked, “now that the singer is gone, where will we go for the sound?”
For fourteen years, I’ve searched, and found, some of the most incredible music my ears could comprehend. With the likes of Railroad Earth, Gov’t Mule, Blue Rodeo, moe, Phish, and more, I have listened, smiled and danced. Of course, I’ve spent many hours lost in the sounds of the New England powerhouses, Max Creek, and Rev Tor. My veins have been itching for another dose of Tor’s magic, so when I saw he was playing only a few hours away, I knew I had to make the trek.
We left NYC and drove through some of the most amazing country New York State has to offer. The road was long and winding, but it didn’t matter. We drove over mountains and farmland until we reached tiny Stephentown, New York.
The Rev Tor Band would be playing a Friday night slot at the “2009 Rock, Rattle, & Drum – American Indian Pow Wow & Spirit on the Mountain Music Festival”. Depth Quartet, made up of Scott Murawski and Greg Vasso of Max Creek would be opening. Knowing the creative spirit of all those involved, I knew there would be a stage full of musicians by the end of the evening, and I was proven correct. Scott sat in with Tor for almost the whole set, Greg played drums on one song, and then shared the drum kit for a drum solo with Tor’s drummer in a way that only pure musicians could even fathom. Kim laughed and stood on a chair to watch it. They wove through originals as well as some great covers, ending the night with a monster “Shakedown Street”, then encoring with Tor’s rocking cover of En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind”… trust me it works.
The next morning, we dragged our asses back to the site, sorry to see that our friends who met us at the fest had left, and hung around to watch some of the Native American ceremonies and dances at the Pow Wow.
As the participants danced, and displayed their beautiful native outfits, I began to notice how connected they were to the beating of the drums. The drums led them, almost as if they were entranced by the sound, and my mind wandered back to the darkness of Madison Square Garden, feeling the same way as I could feel the notes of Jerry’s guitar around me. These dances they performed under the hot sun were timeless, being passed down generation to generation. Through the ages, the elders would pass it along to the young, so in their culture, the singer was never gone, the song was never lost.
Now, I need to go find some more music to be lost in…