Every religion struggles to redefine itself after the death of its charismatic founder. Often times, this process takes the form of establishing and edifying the authoritative scriptures and commentaries of the tradition. For Jerry Garcia, evangelizing did not happen through sermons or speeches, but rather through his concert performances. Accordingly, Garcia's numerous concert recordings endure as the foundational texts of the Grateful Dead canon.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Gospel of the Grateful Dead
It has been long observed that Deadheads have the makings of a religious movement. I remember as an undergraduate reading Catherine Albanese's America: Religion and Religions, in which she included the Grateful Dead. Evidently, at the moment, we are in the most important part of the Deadhead liturgical year: the Days Between. Named after a Grateful Dead song, it is the days between August 1 (Jerry Garcia's birth) and August 9 (his death). So, there is a short article in the Huffington Post reminding us of this enduring movement: