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Continuing with the groundwork laid on Workingman's Dead, American Beauty finds the Grateful Dead digging deeper into their well of original songs based in the idioms of American roots music. From the opening strums of "Box of Rain," American Beauty lives up to its title, weaving a quilt of modern-day American campfire classics out of a fabric made of bluegrass, country, blues, pop and rock. With the Dead's songwriting skills hitting their apex, songs like "Ripple," "Brokedown Palace," "Candyman," and "Attics of My Life" tug on musical heartstrings, broaching the subjects of love, loss, and consolation. Enlisting the accompaniment of compadres the New Riders of the Purple Sage and David Grisman, whose mandolin work graces "Friend of the Devil," American Beauty also provides the world with two staples of Classic-rock radio, the sweet-harmonied pop of "Sugar Magnolia" and the blues-tinged travelogue "Truckin."'