Grateful Dead Guitarist Back from the Dead

Album Review: Dear Jerry


Dear Jerry is a tribute album. One that brings Jerry Garcia back from the dead without the gruesome zombie-like scene that would be expected from Halloween. I guess he is part of the Grateful Dead now! Jerry Garcia is best known for his work as a guitarist in the Grateful Dead. The band performed from 1965-1995. The 1960’s were best for its symbols of peace and hippie-like flare. This album has that flare. Hippies are known for their own unqueen style as well as breaking norms.

Even as a believer in the power of music, this one hit me off guard. When I first heard the album, its power did not sync in right away which is normally not the case for me. I had been listening to the album in my car repeatedly. Wanting to quit, but at the same time knowing that was not the answer. I am normally not the kind of person who quits, but I was seriously considering it. College is hard and it can be overwhelming at times. In these moments, it is good to have a friend to motivate us to action to keep moving forward. In this moment, my friend was the music. I turn on my car ignition the lyrics played:

 “Well the first days are the hardest days, don’t you worry anymore ‘Cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door.” (Wheel/Uncle John’s Band)

That is just what I needed to hear in that moment. In my head, this is how I interpreted it. Yes, Math is hard right now and it may never get easier but even as I struggle through it, my understanding increases. What need worry about is when it is easy because that is when I am not growing as an individual. Every day I can start new and put my mistakes or misunderstandings behind me.

Next, I heard:

“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down,
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on,
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still,
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will.” (Wheel/Uncle John’s Band)

It would help me to quit now even if I don’t pass whatever knowledge I obtain will indeed help me go forward. The next semester I take a class that knowledge will help me to pass. This semester moves forward either way. The semester will go on with or without me. I chose to stand still, it will only hurt me. If I am paralyzed by what I will miss.

These words brought me tears. I believe that God knew the words I need to hear and he used this song to send me a message. Other listeners may hear the same lyrics and interpreted them differently. There are many ways to interpreted the same song that power of music.  I recommend listening to KWCR and keep an open mind about the songs you hear as they may hold power in a different moment.

What I think is cool is that these set of lyrics were originally in two different songs by the Grateful Dead, but I was able to hear a new interpretation in both songs.

Courtesy of Barbara Rose Dille. 

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