TJ West: Glenn Thomas’ Black Muddy River

By Kim Grant

TJ West is proud to premier the video for Glenn Thomas’ version of “Black Muddy River” today.

To those unfamiliar with The Grateful Dead and all things Jerry, August 1st through August 9th is known as “Jerry Week” and respectively honors the birth and death of frontman Jerry Garcia.  During Jerry Week, Nashville artist, Glenn Thomas reimagined  and released the single “Black Muddy River,” a song he considers one of The Grateful Dead’s most beautiful.

“Its lyrics are a timeless reflection on life, and I wanted to honor that with a sweet acoustic driven song with strings,” he said.  “Growing up in a musical family, I was listening to The Grateful Dead when I was really young. American Beauty was among the few CDs I listened to on the bus ride to and from school. As a kid, I loved the songs and the vocal harmonies. As I got older and started playing guitar, their songs shifted into a rich musical landscape that has stayed with me and informed my own music ever since. ‘Black Muddy River’ is a later song in their catalog, and lyrically a resonant, timeless reflection on life. The Grateful Dead are such a participatory band in the multitudes of ways their fans share in the music, even after Jerry’s passing. This is my interpretation of what is feel is one of their most beautiful songs.”

It’s a dark song, but tinged with hopefulness.

In 1987, Robert Hunter told Rolling Stone this about the song, “Black Muddy River is about the perspective of age and making a decision about the necessity of living in spite of a rough time, and the ravages of anything else that’s going to come at you. When I wrote it, I was writing about how I felt about being 45 years old and what I’ve been through. And then when I was done with it, obviously it was for the Dead.” “ Black Muddy River” was performed as the first of two encores at the Dead’s final concert on July 9, 1995, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Video directed and shot by Deven Bussey.

Glenn Thomas-Black Muddy River Credits:

Written by: Jerry Garcia (music) & Robert Hunter (lyrics)

Originally performed by The Grateful Dead

This version:

Glenn Thomas – vocals, guitar

Jordan Lehning – piano, guitar

Michael Rinne – bass

Dominic Billet – drums, percussion

Charlie Worsham – dobro,mandolin

Kristin Weber – violin, background vocals

Lydia Luce – viola, background vocals

Emily Nelson cello, background vocals

Strings Arranged by Jordan Lehning

Produced & Recorded by Jordan Lehning at The Duck – Nashville,TN

Mastered by Casey Woodat The Insanery – Nashville,TN

Americana artist, Glenn Thomas also fronts an alternative-rock band, Wild Sun and has just released his debut solo album, Reassure Me There’s a Window (May 2020).  Glenn’s songs have been praised by press and songwriting veterans alike and have led him to perform across the country with national acts such as Langhorne Slim, The Barr Brothers, Blitzen Trapper, Eve6, Watsky, Rubblebucket, and many others. With the alternative-rock outfit he fronts, Wild Sun, his music has been featured in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Spin, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as a cover of Elliott Smith’s “Easy Way Out” on the nationally acclaimed “Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith” album featuring J. Mascis, Julien Baker, and Amanda Palmer.  |  fb  |  buy

Kim Grant

Kim Grant

After growing up listening to Dolly, Merle and Willie, Kim Grant spent the 90’s immersed in the Chicago indie rock scene. Spending many nights at the famed (now-defunct) venue Lounge Ax, bands like Bad Livers, Giant Sand, Handsome Family, Palace Brothers and Wilco turned her on to what was then called Alt-Country. After moving to Los Angeles in 2000, she found this same feeling of musical community at a tiny west side bar called The Cinema Bar where she met artists, Mike Stinson, Randy Weeks, Tony Gilkyson, Ramsay Midwood, and Kip Boardman. These talented folks spurred her enthusiasm for the Southern California roots music scene and the Americana music scene as a whole. Now a music publicist, Grant (alongside Liz Garo and Pam Moore) founded the Los Angeles, weekly roots music series, The Grand Ole Echo in 2005. Also with Garo, Grant helped to curate the Roots Roadhouse American-roots music festival in both 2011 and 2012. Also in 2011 she began co-producing a SXSW day party with Julie Richmond titled, Grand Ole Austin which is still going strong. Visit TJ West on fb and
Kim Grant

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