Emory Joseph finds a new legion of followers with his bright interpretations of Grateful Dead classics on Fennario, Songs By Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter.
Already sweeping in enthusiasts like Bonnie Raitt, who recorded Joseph’s material for her recording Souls Alike, Emory takes his 2003 debut Labor & Spiritsone step further on Fennario by polishing up Hunter/Garcia standards. The songs sound fresh and new, as if the listener is hearing the arrangements for the first time – a sublime accomplishment.
"Sugaree" hints at a big band production, inspired by Jimmy Johnson and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. "Ramble on Rose" sets Fennario into motion, swinging with barroom piano flavor, and an upbeat "Tennessee Jed" continues the party atmosphere, emboldened by support from backup singer Soozie Tyrell. "Mission in the Rain" features fine backing on bass by Lincoln Schleiffer.
Produced by Chris Brook at NYC’s Legacy Recording Studios, Fennario boasts a healthy lineup of backing musicians including T-Bone Wolk, Duke Levine, Jon Carroll, longtime Garcia associate David Grisman on "Brown Eyed Woman," and guitarist Larry Campbell from Phil Lesh’s and Bob Dylan’s touring ensembles. But this Dead tribute project belongs to Emory Joseph ,and his sweet, soulful voice makes Fennario a joyous pleasure to listen to time and again.
Fennario is out now on Iris Records