This weeks marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the Grateful Dead‘s American Beauty. In honor of this historic milestone for one of the band’s most beloved records, tributes have come in from all corners of the live music sphere. On Tuesday, Yonder Mountain String Band added to the pile with their take on “Candyman”.
The often-overlooked final track from side one of the Dead’s fifth studio record tells the story of the titular Candyman’s quest for revenge against a Mr. Benson. The song’s sinister nature encapsulated by Robert Hunter‘s somewhat-cryptic lyrics is softened to some extent by the slow pace of the song and the light instrumentation, which in some ways makes it even more eerie.
This particular performance from YMSB finds the bluegrass outfit knocking BPM up a few notches, giving it a bit more bluegrass twang. Though there’s none of Jerry Garcia‘s iconic pedal steel like what’s found on the record, the addition of Allie Kral on fiddle is able to fill the void. With guitarist Adam Aijala taking lead vocals, he is eventually joined by Kral and bassist Ben Kaufmann to create the chorus of voices the band perfected on American Beauty.
Watch Yonder Mountain String Band’s cover of “Candyman” by the Grateful Dead below.
Yonder Mountain String Band – “Candyman” (Grateful Dead)
[Video: Yonder Mountain String Band]