Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Phil Lesh & Friends
Phil Lesh & Friends is an American rock band formed and led by Phil Lesh, bassist of the Grateful Dead. Though several lineups have toured under the name, including ones featuring members of Phish and Little Feat, the most permanent of these lineups played on a mostly-regular basis from fall of 2000 through 2003. The members of this incarnation were Lesh, Warren Haynes (guitar & vocals; also of Gov't Mule and the Allman Brothers Band), Jimmy Herring (guitar; The Dead, Allman Brothers Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit, etc), Rob Barraco (keyboards; The Zen Tricksters ) and John Molo (drums; Bruce Hornsby & The Range ). This unit released an album, There and Back Again, on Columbia Records in 2002. It included several new songs from Lesh and Robert Hunter, longtime Grateful Dead lyricist, as well as one recent favorite from Jerry Garcia and Hunter, and several original contributions from Haynes, Barraco and Herring.
The most recent incarnation of Phil & Friends, including Lesh, Molo, Herring, Chris Robinson (vocals; The Black Crowes), Barry Sless (guitar and pedal steel; David Nelson Band ), and Steve Molitz (keyboards; Particle), debuted in December 2004.
The Phil & Friends concept takes the music of the Grateful Dead (and an ever-increasing number of other influences, including Bob Dylan, Traffic, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Haynes' own Gov't Mule, the Allman Brothers, etc) and continues the tradition of exploring it in new ways. A Phil & Friends show is often more focused on harder, faster rock than the Grateful Dead were, thanks in large part to Haynes' and Herring's talents at the Southern rock style. Yet they are also extremely adept at the long, spacy, exploratory jams the Grateful Dead made famous. Lesh has been fond of calling it "Dixieland-style rock." It is this melding of styles that has given them extremely wide appeal not only among old Deadheads, but the modern-day fans of other jambands.
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