Ari Joshua – “Help on the Way”


It’s a difficult task to do the Grateful Dead justice with cover songs. After all, the legendary rockers have already put a variety of spins on their tracks via unforgettable live performances, seizing upon their improvisational talents and close-knit chemistry. Still, special things can happen when a talented cast of musicians — who share a reverence for the Dead — get together and craft from the heart, a new interpretation of a Grateful Dead classic.

In this case, a talented arsenal of musicians tackle “Help on the Way,” one part of the Dead’s fan-favorite three-song suite. The Grateful Dead pursued a jazz fusion inspiration across the release, and this cover version captures that mellow sophistication with precision. Joining Ari Joshua is drummer John Kimock, bassist Andy Hess, and keyboardist Eden Ladin. This is another success from this lineup, marking their fourth song together — following “Eyes of the World,” “Lights Out,” and “Eye Just Called to Soul, I Love You.”

From the opening’s gentle guitar trickling and suave backing organs, to the twinkling keys rounding the four-minute turn and adding a spacey edge, this cast’s take of “Help on the Way” is filled with a heady soundscape that wholly captures why the Grateful Dead has attained such a cult following with their grooving, atmospheric vein of rock.

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This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of August 2023’ Spotify playlist.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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