Grateful Dawg

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Overview

In the early '60s, David Grisman and Jerry Garcia were two bluegrass enthusiasts in their early twenties who met after they had seen each other perform. Garcia went on to lead the legendary psychedelic band the Grateful Dead, while Grisman became a world-class mandolin player who blended jazz and bluegrass into a unique style he liked to call "Dawg Music." David and Jerry never lost their enthusiasm for roots music, and in 1973 they formed a progressive bluegrass group called Old and in the Way with Peter Rowan ...
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Overview

In the early '60s, David Grisman and Jerry Garcia were two bluegrass enthusiasts in their early twenties who met after they had seen each other perform. Garcia went on to lead the legendary psychedelic band the Grateful Dead, while Grisman became a world-class mandolin player who blended jazz and bluegrass into a unique style he liked to call "Dawg Music." David and Jerry never lost their enthusiasm for roots music, and in 1973 they formed a progressive bluegrass group called Old and in the Way with Peter Rowan and Vassar Clements. The group quickly gained a large following and sparked a new interest in acoustic music among rock fans, but a falling out led to their breakup after less than a year, and Grisman and Garcia didn't talk for nearly 20 years. In 1991, the pair began working together again, and resumed a fruitful collaboration that resulted in a number of new albums until Garcia's death in 1995. Grateful Dawg, directed by David's daughter Gillian Grisman, is a documentary that looks at the friendship and musical partnership between Grisman and Garcia, and includes live footage of the pair in performance, as well as interviews with a number of their friends, associates, and collaborators.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Grateful Dawg is a romanticized remembrance of the collaboration between two musical luminaries, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman -- and its overly fond tone shouldn't be surprising, since it's directed by Grisman's daughter, Gillian, which makes it something less than a complete examination of these men's lives. For example, mention is not even made of Garcia's famously dominating drug life and what effect it had on their work, except for general references to the loose nature of rehearsal sessions, to accommodate the Grateful Dead front man. But given the large percentage of footage devoted to Garcia and Grisman hunched over instruments, plucking sweet music from their strings, it's doubtful that Gillian Grisman intended to contribute to the world of probing documentaries. As a concert film interspersed with interviews, Grateful Dawg is quite a listen. Deadheads won't be interested by the generic platitudes of interview subjects, anyway -- they'll find the most substance hearing Garcia's frail warble accompany bluegrass and other musical forms that were very experimental for him, late in his career. Gillian Grisman made the film after Garcia's death, but by drawing from old radio interviews, she keeps him a clear voice in the film. She has also gathered some priceless photos of the two before they were famous longhairs, suited and clean-cut, playing such "square" instruments as the violin.
New York Times
Sure, it is a tribute to Jerry Garcia...but this documentary film, which sketches his long friendship and fruitful music-making collaboration with the mandolin and banjo player David Grisman, is quite simply a treat for the ear. Lawrence van Gelder
Washington Post - Desson Howe
Think of this movie as a glorified home video rather than a bitingly insightful documentary. But for Garcia and Grisman, this soft-shoe approach couldn't be more appropriate.
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan
It's to be expected that the music is going to be wonderful, and it is. But there is more to this film, a surprising amount more.
San Francisco Chronicle
For music fans, there's great pleasure in hearing new audio tracks to "Sitting Here in Limbo," "Friend of the Devil" and more songs -- each one complete and unedited. Edward Guthmann

Think of this movie as a glorified home video rather than a bitingly insightful documentary. But for Garcia and Grisman, this soft-shoe approach couldn't be more appropriate.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/25/2002
  • UPC: 043396072497
  • Original Release: 2000
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jerry Garcia
David Grisman Participant
Joe Craven
Jim Kerwin
Ricky Jay
Technical Credits
Gillian Grisman Director, Producer
Susan Baron Editor
Jessie Block Cinematographer
Rand Crook Cinematographer
Jerry Garcia Songwriter
Deborah Koons Garcia Consultant/advisor
David Grisman Songwriter, Executive Producer
Craig Miller Executive Producer
Alicia Sams Producer
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Customer Reviews

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    Posted July 23, 2012

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