“Taking notes on vocal harmonies from friends Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Dead used the softer statements of their fourth studio album as a subtle but moving reflection on the turmoil, heaviness, and hope America’s youth was facing as the idealistic ’60s ended. American Beauty was recorded just a few months after its predecessor, both expanding and improving on the bluegrass, folk, and psychedelic country explorations of Workingman’s Dead with some of the band’s most brilliant compositions.” – Fred Thomas (Allmusic)
It took me a while to get into Grateful Dead, but when they hit me, they hit me hard! This is my second favorite of their albums (my number one is Workingman’s Dead) I should say studio albums, because I really love their early 70s live stuff.
American Beauty is the sixth album by the rock band the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between August and September 1970 and originally released in November 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. The album continued the folk rock and country music explored on Workingman’s Dead and prominently features the lyrics of Robert Hunter.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 258 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
There’s no way to measure his greatness or magnitude as a person or as a player. I don’t think eulogizing will do him justice. He was that great – much more than a superb musician with an uncanny ear and dexterity. He is the very spirit personified of whatever is Muddy River Country at its core and screams up into the spheres. He really had no equal. To me he wasn’t only a musician and friend, he was more like a big brother who taught and showed me more than he’ll ever know. There are a lot of spaces and advances between the Carter Family, Buddy Holly and, say, Ornette Coleman, a lot of universes, but he filled them all without being a member of any school. His playing was moody, awesome, sophisticated, hypnotic and subtle. There’s no way to convey the loss. It just digs down really deep.
~Bob Dylan (Jerry Garcia’s Obituary – 10 August 1995)
Bruce Hornsby inducts the Grateful Dead at the 1994 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony:
Lyle Pearce Lovett (born November 1, 1957) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Active since 1980, he has recorded thirteen albums and released 21 singles to date, including his highest entry, the number 10 chart hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, “Cowboy Man”. Lovett has won four Grammy Awards, including Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Album. (- Wikipedia)
Somehow you can tell the difference when a song is written just to get on the radio and when what someone does is their whole life. That comes through in Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson. There is no separating their life from their music.