Who would have known that one of indie rock’s leading acts has been quelling its inner Deadhead this whole time? Granted their six-hour performance piece should have given it away, but The National are shouting it from a mountaintop now as they’ve announced their second contribution to the Red Hot organization. While Aaron Dessner curated the tracks from Dark Was The Night by gathering musicians to perform one or two tracks, this new Grateful Dead tribute will feature star-studded ensembles taking on some of the Dead’s most beloved songs.
“We’ve done a lot of work talking to various artists and laying the groundwork,” Aaron Dessner told Relix recently. “It is kind of an ambitious project both because of the legacy and the material. We are obsessed enough with the Grateful Dead that it is kind of a monumental idea.”
Some of the artists that are already confirmed includes members of Vampire Weekend, The War on Drugs, Bon Iver, The Walkmen and Kurt Vile & the Violators. Dessner also mentions that Sonic Youth’ Lee Ranaldo and Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan are fellow Deadheads that could fit in on the forthcoming album.
“There are all kind of corners of the musical world that are deeply influenced by the Dead that one wouldn’t expect,” Bryce Dessner states. The album will be curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner and will serve as a benefit for the Red Hot AIDS organization, a group dedicated to fighting AIDS through pop culture. Last week Red Hot also announced the long awaited release of their Fela Kuti compilation, which will be available this October.