Photo by Nate Peracciny – The Canal Street String Band

A special concert devoted to tracing the roots of the Grateful Dead songbook is set for 8 pm, Thursday, August 23 at the Keene Valley Congregational Church.

The Grateful Dead exposed generations of music fans to the nooks, crannies, branches and offshoots of American roots music like perhaps no other act of their size and influence. Jerry Garcia grew up listening to field recordings, jazz, traditional folk songs, bluegrass, and ancient Child ballads, first getting together with Bob Weir and Pigpen NOT to start a rock-and-roll band, but to play jug band music

As The Grateful Dead, they learned songs from itinerant street musicians, covered blues legends and country stars, and packed a gumbo of musical styles into their own canon of beloved original songs.

The Canal Street String Band–featuring Dave Ruch, Phil Banaszak and Jim Whitford–are part of the New York State Presenters Network. The band explores this deep well of American music that inspired the Grateful Dead, and shares some fascinating stories behind the music. With fiddle, banjo, dobro, jaw harp, string bass, guitar, mandolin, three-part harmonies, and a pair of cow bones, this program is ideal both for Deadheads and those who’ve never been captivated.

The concert is sponsored by the East Branch Friends of the Arts.

Suggested donation is $10. Students are free.

For more information, please call Peter Slocum at 518-708-5607 or email [email protected]