Sam Cohen and The National Share Updates on Grateful Dead Tribute Album featuring Lee Ranaldo, members of Yo La Tengo, Vampire Weekend, War on Drugs, Walkmen, Kurt Vile & the Violators and Bon Iver

Over the past week The National, Sam Cohen and Lee Ranaldo have shared photos of their recording sessions underway for a collaborative Grateful Dead tribute album that’s been in in the works since 2011. First came Cohen’s facebook post and The National instagram (both below), followed by a group picture tweeted with a lyric quoted from “Bird Song” that happened to also sum up that day’s weather in New York, “I’ll show you snow and rain.”

Dead sessions

A post shared by The National (@thenational) on

The National’s February 20th instagram shows Will Oldham/ Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Kristian “The Tallest Man on Earth” Matsson sitting in the studio during what looks like like a playback. It’s captioned, “Dead sessions.” Sonic Youth legend and noted Dead aficionado Lee Ranaldo shared two beautiful pictures from the sessions on February 22nd. Other photos show Cass McCombs and the most trusted name in Dead covers: Joe Russo of Furthur and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, as well as Benevento/Russo Duo, the Gene Ween Band, and many other groups. Yesterday Cohen reposted The National’s group photo on facebook with a message that confirmed the involvement of Oldham, Matsson, Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan, The Walkman’s bassist/ organist Walter Martin, The National, Sam Amidon, Conrad Doucette and Cohen’s former Yellowbirds bandmate Josh Kaufman at the sessions. The core band – the two pairs of brothers from The National, Cohen, Kaufman, Martin and Doucette – was the same as the super group that played behind Weir at the 2012 Bridge Session, plus Bryce (photos and a stream of that entire show here).

The past week’s social media updates have given us a glimpse of the how the project is taking shape, as well as clues of some other details:

It’s being recorded at Hudson Valley’s Dreamland Studios
…near Woodstock

Snowed In at Dreamland

A post shared by The National (@thenational) on

Dreamland Magic Hour 12 String

A post shared by Lee Ranaldo (@leeranaldo) on


They were inspired by the spirit of Jimmy Buffet

Rehearsals for the banana wind tour

A post shared by The National (@thenational) on


…and perhaps the spirit of Jimmy Page

Can't believe we got to record grateful dead songs with @leeranaldo thank you!!

A post shared by Aaron Dessner (@aarondessner) on


Josh Kaufman plays a song with Will Oldham


Apparently Tallest Man on Earth is covering “Ship of Fools”

@spkmatsson sounding unbelievable. #gratefuldead #shipoffools

A post shared by Aaron Dessner (@aarondessner) on


“And We Bid You Goodnight” Tease


More of Kaufman, Doucette, Ranaldo and The National

Not sure Bryan will ever play a drum set again after this thing :)

A post shared by Aaron Dessner (@aarondessner) on

We just closed the Thruway with that jam :) #gratefuldead #playingintheband

A post shared by The National (@thenational) on


In sum, we get a timeline of the Dreamland sessions

Breakdown Street

A post shared by The National (@thenational) on

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