Today, the official Jerry Garcia account posted on social media that Norm Van Maastricht passed away over the weekend. Van Maastricht was a longtime friend and collaborator of Jerry Garcia, with the two first meeting in Dana Morgan‘s music shop in Palo Alto, CA. Once acquainted, the two went onto play together in Hart Valley Drifters, a bluegrass band also featuring famed Grateful Dead lyricist Robert HunterNew Riders of the Purple Sage co-founder and guitarist David Nelson, and Ken Frankel.

Most recently, Van Maastricht and the Hart Valley Drifters were included on the Before The Dead box set, which compiled rare (many, previously unreleased) recordings of Jerry, showcasing his early beginnings before the Grateful Dead. Additionally, in 2016, the Hart Valley Drifters released an album, Folk Time. Derived from a lost recording from 1962, the album featured a recording of the band on Stanford University’s KZSU’s Folk Times program. After a student who had produced and recorded the session found them 46 years later in 2008, the album eventually got its official release in 2016.

Hart Valley Drifters, Jerry Garcia – Folk Time – Full Album

 

Van Maastricht also was an author, publishing a book in 2016 titled Paul Yandell, Second to the Best: A Sideman’s Chronicle—a book about the life and experiences of the Kentucky-born guitar player who became a sideman for Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins. Van Maastricht also published an extensive essay on his website following Jerry Garcia’s death, which featured his reflections on the famed Grateful Dead guitarist, though he noted “Jerry and I, while never ever having bad words, had drifted apart over the years due to vast differences in lifestyles.” Throughout his life, Van Maastricht continued to play, teach, and perform music.

Rest in peace, Norm.