Former Grateful Dead Finds Muse in Wyoming for New Folk Album
Inspiration comes in many forms. From the calloused hands of farmers to the dirty fingernails of roughnecks, Bob Weir found a muse in the stories told around a Wyoming campfire. Weir, one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead, went back to a simpler time for his new album, “Blue Mountain.”
He wanted to write some cowboy songs, so he went back to his youth when he ran away to be a cowboy. He was 15-years-old and worked on a ranch in Wyoming. The work was hard. At night they sat around a campfire and told stories while he played guitar. Decades later, those memories became the inspiration.
“I found myself working in Wyoming living in a bunk house with a bunch of old cowpokes and ranch hands, and a lot of those guys had grown up in an era before radio had even got to Wyoming," Weir says in the video Story of Blue Mountain. "Their idea of an evening was to tell stories and sing songs ... I learned a bunch of those songs and got steeped into that tradition. It’s a tradition that’s almost gone.”
The album “Blue Mountain” is a long way off from Sugar Magnolia or Touch of Grey. It goes back to the roots without reverb or delay. It goes back to a young Weir still searching to find out what he would become. It goes back to that young boy sitting around a campfire telling stories and singing.
Weir gives a shout out to Wyoming and Jackson Hole in his song "Cottonwood Lullaby."