phil lesh

Eric Krasno to Join Phil Lesh & Terrapin Family Band at Brooklyn Bowl


via Jambase

This weekend, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band return to Brooklyn Bowl for two nights, and the collective will welcome Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno for both nights, March 12 and 13.

The second night of the run will see Lesh and company pay homage to the 1977 Grateful Dead and the 40th anniversary of that landmark year for the band, which featured high-level touring and the release of Terrapin Station.

More information on the Brooklyn Bowl run is available at the venue’s website.

Phil Lesh Join The Eric Krasno Band For A Beautiful “Scarlet > Fire”

via Live For Live Music

Fresh off the release of their Blood From A Stone album, the Eric Krasno Band brought their fall tour to the famed Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA last night. The venue is perhaps most well known for its proprietor, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. It just so happened that Lesh was on hand for the performance, and sat in for a four song run at the end of Krasno’s first set.

Eric Krasno has been a frequent contributor to Phil Lesh & Friends shows of late, and the guitarist has embraced the Grateful Dead catalog with a passion. Lesh first emerged for “Ramble On Rose,” and aided in “I Second That Emotion.” Krasno’s band and Lesh then let loose on a great rendition of “Scarlet Begonias” into “Fire On The Mountain.”

Check out a video of “Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain” below, courtesy of Keith Zacharski.

The show of course featured a number of great original music from Krasno’s career, including choice cuts from his recent Blood From A Stone album. The show ended with a rocking encore of “Manic Depression,” sending fans home happy!

Setlist: Eric Krasno Band at Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael, CA – 10/8/16

Set One: 76, Jezebel, Please Ya, Move Over, Curse Lifter, Ramble On Rose, I Second That Emotion, Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain

Set Two: Get Back, Torture, On The Rise, Memphis Train, Blood From A Stone, Love Is Strong, Unconditional Love

Encore: Manic Depression

New Fall Tour Dates

Eric Krasno Band is getting ready to hit the road on its Fall Tour and has added a new stop October 26 at The Rex Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA. The tour, which spans October through November features dates with Phil Lesh, Marco Benevento, The London Souls, Doyle Bramhall II and Dumpstaphunk. Tickets for all shows are on sale now!

2016 Fall Tour
October 7 • Brick & Mortar • San Francisco, CA | Tickets
October 8 • Terrapin Crossroads • San Rafael, CA | Tickets*
October 9 • Terrapin Crossroads • San Rafael, CA | Tickets*
October 18 • The Broadberry • Richmond, VA | Tickets**
October 19 • Lincoln Theatre • Raleigh, NC | Tickets**
October 20 • Terminal West • Atlanta, GA | Tickets**
October 21 • New Mountain • Asheville, NC | Tickets**
October 22 • Pour House • Charleston, SC | Tickets**
October 26 • Rex Theatre • Pittsburgh, PA | Tickets
October 27 • Live from the Ludlow • Cincinnati, OH | Tickets
October 28 • Woodlands • Columbus, OH | Tickets
October 29 • Martyrs • Chicago, IL w/ The London Souls | Tickets+
November 1 • Rams Head • Annapolis, MD | Tickets++
November 2 • Hamilton • Washington, DC | Tickets++
November 3 • Stone Pony • Asbury Park, NJ | Tickets++
November 4 • Ardmore Music Hall • Ardmore, PA | Tickets++
November 5 • Arch Street Tavern • Hartford, CT | Tickets
November 18 • Antone’s • Austin, TX | Tickets^
November 19 • Anotone’s • Austin, TX | Tickets^
November 20 • Warehouse Live • Houston, TX | Tickets^

* featuring Phil Lesh
** with Marco Benevento
+ with The London Souls
++ with Doyle Bramhall II
^ with Dumpstaphunk

Eric Krasno on the New, Jerry Garcia-Inspired and John Mayer-Designed Guitar Making Its Debut with Phil Lesh & Friends


Tonight, Phil Lesh will assemble an unusually eclectic group of musicians for the first of two shows at Coney Island's Ford Amphitheatre. Joining the bassist will be bandmates Eric Krasno, Alan Evans and Neal Evans, who are known together as Soulive, along with Jackie Greene, Karl Denson, Jason Crosby and The Shady Horns. 

In what is sure to be an exciting run as these skilled musicians put their unique spin on Grateful Dead classics and beyond, the run will also find Krasno debuting a brand new guitar sent to him by another new guitarist in the Dead world--John Mayer. 

As Krasno explains, the new Paul Reed Smith he'll be playing on stage tonight is the second of two guitars Mayer had designed for him prior to Dead & Company's tour. Mayer delved into the musical mind of Jerry Garcia with the people at PRS and created a truly Garcia guitar that enables him to reach some of those signature sounds. "He said to me, 'You need to play this guitar, you need to try this,'" Krasno explains of his initial conversations with Mayer about the guitar, which stemmed from a compliment passed onto the guitarist (and fellow Berklee alum) from Oteil Burbridge. 

Krasno also dishes on his early days as a Deadhead, Mayer's performance thus far in Dead & Company, how playing in projects like Phil Lesh & Friends and Billy & The Kids has opened his eyes to a whole new aspect of a band he's loved for many years. 

There’s an interesting story behind the guitar you’ll be using this week at Coney Island. Can you give some background on how this all came together? 

Since playing with Phil and Billy, beyond just like digging into the music, digging into the tones and the sounds of the Dead has been its own journey. Just to give the full picture of it, I started diving into it after playing and just seeing the different guitars and the different sounds that Jerry had used over the years. 

Part of the thing about the Grateful Dead is that they were not only at the forefront of creating this whole community and also creating a new sound musically, they were also technically pushing boundaries. They were building the Wall of Sound and helping design guitars and new effects equipment and creating this new style of production by bringing these shows all over the country and bringing bigger productions. 

Anyway, Jerry was always trying to find these sounds with the guitar whether it was with pedals or MIDIs or pick-ups and different sounds that he could get out of the guitar so Doug Irwin built various guitars for him utilizing three pick ups and all these different switches which you could get many different timbres and tones with it. 

I got to play Tiger at Central Park and I was blown away by how it felt and when I saw Dead & Company, I mentioned to Oteil [Burbridge] that John Mayer was really getting a lot of these signature sounds out of his equipment and his guitar and he passed along that message to John and then John texted me like, ‘Hey man we should talk about this.’ I called him and he’s really into it it turns out. 

He spent a good amount of time digging into it even further. Spent a lot of time digging into the music, the different airs and the different songs and getting the sounds so he developed a guitar with Paul Reed Smith that has a bunch of the switches that Jerry used and also a longer neck which was a bigger thing than I knew because it’s not just about having more notes it’s also about the sound that it creates with a longer neck. I hope I’m not getting too technical for the Relix readers (Laughs). 

I bet many will appreciate the technical side for sure. 

So, he explained to me the different configurations. He said to me, ‘You need to play this guitar, you need to try this.’ There’s two of them, one he used on the previous tour and one he used on the current tour, and the one he calls ‘Number Two’ he sent to me and that’s the guitar I’m going to use this week. 

I’ve been playing it a little bit trying to prep for it, it’s pretty amazing and mind-blowing what they’ve created and Paul Reed Smith, they’re beautiful guitars and a very high level consumer guitar and this one, along with a team of people, was him hands on building it for John for Dead & Company. I’m looking to now build one in the same vein. I don’t know if it’s going to be a Paul Reed Smith or who’s going to build it yet but I definitely want to build a custom guitar with a lot of these configurations. 

I’m using this one for now until I have one for me. But that’s very generous of him to send out to use. It’s a truly beautiful guitar and it has some amazing tones. It’s all about not just emulating what Jerry did but adding our own thing to it and giving our sound with respect to what he did. And that was one of the things John mentioned too, he said ‘This is an open source thing.’ We’re all adding something that he started and we’re all giving our own take on it and there’s such a huge library of music form the Dead and its all been interpreted in so many different ways now and I think that’s the beauty of it is that now it’s becoming something beyond just a band--it’s music that people are going to listen to forever. It’s becoming traditional and these songs have a life of many generations to come.

Both you and John came into the Dead world around the same time, albeit with different projects. How was it to talk to him and compare notes as the guitar players? 

Well it’s interesting, I’ve known him for a while. He brought Soulive on tour when he made the Continuum album, which is my favorite album of his. We got to know each other a little bit then and we discovered we’re from like the same area and the same age and he went to Berklee so there’s a lot of common thread there but I’ve always respected him as a player and a songwriter too, that record specifically. 

I was intrigued when he was about to be in Dead & Company because I wasn’t aware of him being a Dead fan at that point but I think in recent years he got into it and I think it’s the same allure as me, but I was a Deadhead early on. My brother got me into shows and in a way they were the portal to a lot of other music for me. 

I came full circle when I didn’t listen to the Dead for a while, I was just doing other things--I was in Soulive and Lettuce and coming back around, learning the songs again, I’m even more of a fan than I was in the beginning. Now, also being in a band seeing what they did and how they paved the way for everything that this scene is. 

Beyond music there’s the way they produced their shows and created an experience for their fans and I think that’s something a lot of musicians discover over time like the way that they changed their set lists so their touring fan base could always new shows and new experience and the way that they would change the way they played the songs and arranged the songs. 

It’s a constant challenge and it still continues. Phil is one of the busiest people I know and every time he plays a show he has different members of the band and he has to rehearse the songs and revamp the songs that he’s played so many times. But he likes to give it a fresh take every time. He likes to stretch out and take chances. I think that sense of challenging ourselves and being a part of this amazing community, I know he was touched by that, I know that I have been. 

It’s been pretty amazing. Just being at the shows when the first note of the song hits and everyone gets so excited, you feel that excitement and you feel them sing those first words, it’s cool to be a part of that whether it’s on stage or being in the audience. I feel like it’s been a blessing to experience that.

And for this Coney Island run, you’re definitely around some familiar faces. 

[Phil] was like, ‘Yeah bring your guys in’ and now it’s pretty much Soulive, and Shady Horns and Jackie and Jason [and Karl Denson]. We’re all really good friends and we all hang out anyway so it’s cool to get to do it with such good friends and great musicians. 

Going back to the guitar briefly—what about it stylistically is different that makes it closer to the line of guitars Jerry used over the years? 

One thing is that he played with such dynamics and that’s been something really cool for me to open up that side where it’s not just like putting everything into each note like Stevie Ray Vaughan or Hendrix where it’s just like everything into each note. 

He really has that nuance and I think he wanted to create a guitar that really showcased that. I don’t want to say what he was thinking but I know with the way he developed those guitars with Doug Irwin that there’s so much dynamic to them and so much sensitivity and that’s what Jerry really envisioned is that sensitive style, all those little twists and turns that he played. You want to hear all that stuff so that’s one thing we’re trying to achieve. 

And again, the scale length and having access to higher notes easier and then also in turn the long neck created a certain twang when he’s playing those chords like on “Deal.” When I played “Deal” on this guitar it never sounded like that before because of that certain twang. I call it the spank, it has a certain spank to it. The rest of it is very technical. 

This guitar does not have this but on Tiger they have an effects loop, which allows you to kick in what we call the quacker or the low filter which is that sound on “Shakedown.” The “Shakedown sound.” He had a switch on his guitar that enabled him to flip that on just from his guitar, which was pretty cool. 

Since most of this is because of John Mayer, what do you think about how the community has embraced him and accepted him over the course of Dead & Company? 

When I saw him do the Grateful Dead gig, I thought he did a great job. John put a lot of work into it and did a great job on the playing side of it. He sounded really good. I think over time he fell into the role more and more and I’m sure in the beginning there was a lot of hesitation for people to embrace him as a member of the Dead Co. but I think he proved himself. 

It’s definitely interesting to hear his playing in the Dead’s world. What do you notice about your playing when you step into this music? 

A lot of the style of playing of the Grateful Dead is laying over the change of song and being able to stay with the song form. That was something that Jerry did so well. I don’t want to say on his behalf but he was a jazz player in terms of he was always playing and flowing over these chord changes. 

A lot of the stuff that we do is one or two chord changes or we just play over a vamp but with the Dead dudes it’s all about playing over these flowing song forms and he was so good at that--playing lyrically. Knowing the song you could hear the lyrics in his playing. That to me is something I’ve learned so much from in terms of playing with Phil and Billy and being true to that song and stretching that song but always having that in you. Having those lyrics and that melody in what you’re playing and staying true to that.

Eric Krasno Finds His Voice On Solo Debut (Highway 81 Revisited)

via Highway 81 Revisited

Two-time Grammy winner Eric Krasno still considers himself fortunate for his ability to play guitar a quarter century after he shattered his left elbow in a fall during a basketball game his freshman year of high school.

The mishap in his Connecticut hometown was an awakening, a musical turning point that makes the co-founder of jazz-funk bands Soulive and Lettuce, who has toured with Tedeschi Trucks Band — as a  bassist, no less —  grateful to this day to be doing what he’s doing.

“I rolled over this guy’s back. I was going in for a full-court lay-up, running all the way down the court,” recalled Krasno, 39, whose introduction to guitar was on bass, in his older brother’s high school garage band.

Right-handed, Krasno, based in Brooklyn since 1999, relies on his left hand to be his fretboard operator.

“The guy went underneath me,” continued Krasno, who took up the violin around the age of 4.

“When I went down, I crushed my elbow. My humerus was stuck out of my skin. It basically crushed my elbow. They weren’t sure if I’d ever use my hand or arm.

“I couldn’t move my fingers. I forced myself to play guitar, slowly but surely. My theory was it dramatically helped my movement. I forced my fingers to move. I definitely have full motion now. I definitely still have pain from it. I realized, the thought of not playing guitar … I dreaded it. So, I got more serious about it. If there was a possibility of not doing it, I’d be distraught. ”

Krasno, a prolific songwriter and record producer who has worked in the production of albums for Norah Jones, Tedeschi Trucks, 50 Cent and Aaron Neville, has  played it safe on the basketball court ever since.

He laughingly recalled enforcing a “no-contact” rule during pickup games with musician friends back in college — first, at the Berklee College of Music and, then, at Hampshire College in Massachusetts.

Musically, the improvisational guitarist whose performances have been historically instrumental, hasn’t exactly taken the same conservative path.

Except, that is, for when it comes to his voice.

He’s literally always kept his voice in the background, lending backing vocals for artists he’s worked with, such as Tedeschi and Trucks.

For the first time in his career, Krasno has stepped to the microphone in the role of vocal frontman for his own Eric Krasno Band.

His r&b-based solo album, “Blood from a Stone,” is due to be released this week, coinciding with a tour with his solo project’s touring six-piece band.

The band played Saturday at Boulder, Colorado’s Fox Theatre, performing with Dumpstaphunk. The tour returns to the east coast for a July 7 record release show at Brooklyn Bowl — Krasno’s home court. That’s where Krasno is the de facto house musician and where Soulive has hosted its annual “Bowlive,” a two-week, 10-night residency that welcomes a changing list of big-name collaborators.

Krasno also has dates for Soulive, which once opened for the Rolling Stones, penciled in for Sept. 14-15 at the Amphitheater at Coney Island during which the band will sit in for a two-night run with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and an all-star Phil Lesh & Friends lineup that will include saxophonist Karl Denson, keyboardist-violinist Jason Crosby and singer-songwriter Jackie Greene.

“I love it. He’s such a creative person,” Krasno said of performing with Lesh. “There’s nobody that sounds like him. He wants to stretch out the music. I’ve known Jackie for a long time. I’ve played a lot with Jason Crosby.”

During a recent interview with Highway 81 Revisited, Krasno spoke of no immediate commitments for Lettuce tour dates.

“We definitely have plans to do as much as possible. We’ll be out there for a while” he said of the solo band, which will tour the south in October.

“I got to the point where I wanted to do my own thing,” Krasno explained of his lead vocal evolution. “You work with a lot of people. I’ve been out on the road doing instrumental music. I wanted to eventually combine this together (with vocals). I wanted to get out in front and perform.

“I also started working with (writing partner) Dave Gutter (of Maine-based, rock-jazz-funk band Rustic Overtones), and we started writing a lot of songs together. He definitely pushed me to be a lead singer. He said, ‘Man, you sound good singing these songs.’

“I was kind of figuring out my vocal technique as it was happening. A lot of it was experimental. I like how it came out. It’s been an interesting journey. It’s a great experience to just play around.”

Krasno’s vocals on “Blood from a Stone” exude a certain Jimi Hendrix/Lenny Kravitz-like flavor, which makes sense  considering Krasno grew up listening to an eclectic mix of Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead and hip-hop acts like the Beastie Boys.

“Some of the initial ideas that would eventually wind up on the album were written thinking others would sing them,” Krasno said of his writing sessions with collaborator Gutter. “But when they were introduced to different artists, it wouldn’t necessarily work out. Eventually, I realized some of the songs we’d been writing were more personal and would be better suited for me to sing.”

Long-time friend Derek Trucks and his wife Susan Tedeschi turned to Krasno back in 2013 to become the bassist for their Tedeschi Trucks Band after the departure from the band of Oteil Burbridge, former bassist of the Allman Brothers and current bass man of Dead & Company.

Krasno, who has  his own recording label — Feel Music Group — and Trucks had known each other for decades  — since Soulive opened during its first national tour with the Derek Trucks Band back in the 1990s.

Bass being the instrument Krasno played in a band, it seemed natural to jump aboard.

“He’s one of my favorite current guitar players for sure,” Krasno said of Trucks. “I did some songwriting for the first two (Tedeschi Trucks) albums.

“On tour, I realized how insane their schedule was. I was a placeholder while they found a permanent replacement. I needed a lot of things I had to get to.”

Tedeschi Trucks eventually hired Tim Lefebvre, the last bassist to record with David Bowie, to be their permanent bass player.

But Krasno and Trucks continue to collaborate.

Trucks makes a guest appearance on Krasno’s solo album for the track “Curse Lifter,” an instrumental described as an Allman Brothers-Santana crossover.

“People like to work with Kraz because he brings a lot to the table,” Trucks told the Wall Street Journal last year. “He’s a really good, deep listener, and he hears music both rhythmically and harmonically and as both a producer and a musician. There are not many people who can check all those boxes.”

Soulive To Join Phil Lesh & Friends at Coney Island

Following a dazzling set at Terrapin Crossroads in San Francisco, Soulive + Phil Lesh will once again team up for a "Phil Lesh & Friends" performance. This time, however, they will bring the show to the East Coat with two performances (September 14 & 15) at the brand-new Amphitheater at Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY.

Tickets for both engagements go on sale this Friday, May 13 at 12pm ET.