Warren Haynes Brings Music of Jerry Garcia to Boston for Pops Collaboration

Warren Haynes played Jerry Garcia’s guitar, The Wolf.
Warren Haynes played Jerry Garcia’s guitar, The Wolf. –Bob Minkin

Less than a year ago Warren Haynes and the Boston Pops played a Tanglewood show as part of the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration, and next week, Haynes and the Celebration are headed back to the Hub for a two-date Pops collaboration.

Haynes was hopeful that he’d be able to work with the Celebration to play the music of Jerry Garcia again after a successful 2013 tour.

“We did a handful of shows last year and it was fabulous, and I was really hoping we’d have a chance to do some more,’’ Haynes said during an interview with Boston.com.


The 2014 Celebration featuring Haynes kicks off in Boston May 13 and 14 before heading to Wallingford, Conn., Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Louis this month, and this year’s tour will be a little bit different than last year — in true Grateful Dead style.

“We’re gonna do a lot of the stuff that we did last year,’’ Haynes said during a phone interview with Boston.com. “We’re also going to add four or five new songs to the repertoire. In Grateful Dead tradition, you try to do a different set list every night, but when working with an orchestra, that’s not as easy as it is when you’re just doing it with a band.’’

The series of events that culminated in Haynes leading the Symphonic Celebration’s pair of tours started with a phone call.

“I got a call from the people who represent the Jerry Garcia estate saying that they had some ideas about doing some shows with symphonies interpreting the music of Jerry Garcia, with what they were envisioning being several different guest artists,’’ Haynes recalled. “And they wanted to know if I was interested in being the first one. I said ‘Absolutely, I’d be honored to do that’.’’


What transpired next was something that Haynes had long dreamed of — working with not one but several symphonies across the country.

“It’s a very unique experience because — well, let’s start with the fact that I had never worked with an orchestra before last year,’’ Haynes said. “I had always wanted to do something but never had, so it was a wonderful opportunity for me. And doing the music of Jerry Garcia, it was a very enticing opportunity as well.’’

Haynes will lead the charge with a vocal interpretation of Garcia’s music while playing the guitar in the pair of Boston performances.

“You have to experience it to really get it,’’ Haynes said of the tour.

Haynes’ selection to be part of the Celebration wasn’t random. The Allman Brothers Band guitarist has toured with The Dead twice (2003 and 2009) and has worked with Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh on several occasions since the late ‘90s.

“We just work together whenever we get a chance and it’s always fun,’’ Haynes said of his friendship with Lesh. “I guess that helped lead me to this opportunity.’’

The fact that he’s one of the world’s most recognizable guitarists may have had something to do with it, too. Rolling Stone named Haynes one of the Top 100 Greatest Guitarists (as selected by David Fricke), and he’s worked with some of the industry’s greatest acts, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews, Kid Rock, and one of his greatest inspirations, B.B. King.


For more info on the Celebration, check out the Boston Globe’s preview of last year’s show which includes highlights and notes from Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart. For tickets to this and other Boston Pops events (whose season kicks off tonight), visit the Pops’ website.

Loading Comments...

Love Letters
Love Letters Chat
October 19, 2017 | 7:09 AM