Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Album Review: Bob Weir & Wolf Brothers - Live In Colorado

Bob Weir & Wolf Brothers 
Live In Colorado
*** out of *****

For the last few years Bob Weir has stripped down with fellow troubadours Jay Lane on drums and Don Was on stand up bass to deconstruct the Grateful Dead catalog via The Wolf Brothers touring band. The first official release from this outfit is the Live in Colorado album with selections culled from shows played at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado on June 8 and 9, 2021, and at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre in Vail, Colorado on June 11 and 12, 2021.

The eight tracks here run long and are never in a hurry to go anywhere. Supported by Wolf Brother regulars Jeff Chimenti (piano) and Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar) the group gets a fuller sound by also having guests Sheldon Brown (tenor saxophone), Alex Kelly (cello), Brian Switzer (trumpet) Adam Theis (trombone) Mads Tolling (violin) joining on various songs. 

These guests really help the group as the jazzy sax work highlights opener "New Speedway Boogie" with Weir singing strongly. The Bob Dylan cover "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" is augmented by Leisz fluid pedal steel work while the piano focus from Chimenti on the Weir classic "Looks Like Rain" is an album highlight.  

Things aren't all successful though as "Big River" suffers from the band's slow pace as does the usually pumping "Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance" pairing as the players jazz focus saps the energy from these numbers. Better is the slowly grooving "West L.A. Fadeaway" and the newer Weir original "Only A River" that floats on a pleasant folk vibe. "Brother Esau" makes a strong case as a severally overlooked Grateful Dead song on this album as Weir and company deliver an invigorating performance; the most rock oriented here. 

With Dead and Company, various guest sit in's and more, Weir is constantly playing live, which is a blessing and The Wolf Brothers Live In Colorado is just another, more jazz/folk focused, musical step down a never ending road of his music.      
Support the artists, buy the album and peep some video below:

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