When cosmic cowboys New Riders Of The Purple Sage hitched their wagon to the Grateful Dead‘s 1972 European tour, the band became part of a caravan that would travel through music history. The Dead’s legendary concerts from that spring trip became the landmark live album Europe ’72, and now New Riders Of The Purple Sage will present a travel log from their journey abroad with Lyceum ’72, out on September 23rd via Omniovore Recordings. Taped on May 26th, 1972 at London’s Lyceum Ballroom, the concert marked the final night of the Dead’s historic tour. Today, NRPS is sharing audio of their cover of The Rolling Stones‘ “Connection” from the band’s opening set exclusively through Live For Live Music.

New Riders Of The Purple Sage spawned from similar musical DNA that birthed the Grateful Dead. The original lineup even featured Jerry Garcia on pedal steel and Mickey Hart on drums. The group represented a musical metamorphosis that was happening in the United States as the next generation of musicians continued to crossbreed styles, blending the new psychedelic movement with the traditional country styles of old.

Former Grateful Dead tour manager Sam Cutler expands on the cultural exchange in the album’s liner notes,

The New Riders were new to the British public, and it was an interesting experiment in cultural exchange to see the Brits picking up on their “contemporary country.” A whole change had occurred back in the States in the music scene with bands adopting country music and modifying it to suit the tastes of their audiences, so that “hippies” were now listening to George Jones and Willie Nelson songs, and more traditional country fare was being repackaged and rearranged for a youthful pot smoking urban audience rather than people who lived in redneck areas of America.

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“Connection” starts off vaguely “Blowin’ In The Wind” with a lonesome guitar before getting picked up in a psychedelic duststorm and landing among the California cowboys. Traditional country elements come through with a steady rhythm as John Dawson croons about making the right “Connection”. The cultural split then happens with David Nelson‘s spur-rattling guitar solo where he explores the valley that bridges cosmic and country.

Listen to New Riders Of The Purple Sage perform The Rolling Stones’ “Connection” from the upcoming archival release Lyceum ’72, available here for pre-order on CD or digital download.

New Riders Of The Purple Sage – “Connection” (The Rolling Stones) – 5/26/72