Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ashes and Glass - Grateful Dead Song Review

I'm including the song  Ashes and Glass in my Grateful Dead blog because I love the song and wanted to write  about it.

I think the Ashes and Glass is worthy of being considered a Grateful Dead song. I say this because it's a really great and original song and it sounds like it would have fit in really well in the Grateful Dead catalog.

The song is actually a Ratdog song, written by Bob Weir and Ratdog (additional lyrics by Andre Pessis). It came out in 1999, but I only became familiar with it recently.

The song has several versions on Youtube but they are live versions. I was really moved by the studio version - which you can buy on iTunes here.

Great Lyrics and Great Jamming 

When I first heard this song I had the distinct feeling I was getting to hear a long lost Grateful Dead song.  

You really have to go hear this song to appreciate it. The song features some great "deep" and metaphorical lyrics that remind me of other late Grateful Dead songs like Days Between.  The lyrics have the air of a wizened well traveled guy looking back and sharing what life's lessons have taught him. The song's premise is summed up in the first two lines:

What if all tomorrow brings is ashes and glass
And I can't tell you child, "this too shall pass"

...and then it goes through a lot of kind of "post apocalyptic" imagery and seems to be telling us: enjoy and make the most of the present and don't take life to seriously.

The music has a nice loping "Grateful Dead" shuffle to it.  I'm guessing it's Jeff Chimenti on the keys (plays wonderfully)  but  I couldn't really really venture a guess as to who the other musicians are.  There's some really tasteful dissonant jamming and I love the lead guitar.

Of course, there's a ton of  lyrical and musical nods to Throwing Stones in Ashes and Glass as well.

A Great "Grateful Dead" Song

I hope it doesn't come across as a slight to Bobby or Ratdog that I hold the song in such hight esteem that I consider it "worthy" of being considered a Grateful Dead song.

I am really glad that Bobby gave us another song that keeps the spirit of the Grateful Dead alive.

Ashes and Glass Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 9.3

Disclaimer: This is part of my blog that reviews all things Grateful Dead for fun. Music is a beautiful thing because it is so personal and subjective, so keep in mind that this is one man's opinion.


Evan said...

I truly love this tune as well and agree that it's right up there with some of the Dead's best songs. I've always kind of thought of it as a continuation of Throwing Stones, compare the lyrics and message...

GDmike said...

Thanks for sharing Evan, I am glad that this song is appreciated by others... I completely agree with the connection to Throwing Stones.