“Phish” and “country music” aren’t usually mentioned in the same sentence. Nonetheless, throughout the legendary jam band’s three-decade career, they’ve been punctuating long sets with short bluegrass interludes, forgoing any sense of ego or concern as to where they stand in relation to the canon of country greats. Phish fans don’t necessarily go to shows for these moments, but they’re integral to the Vermont group nonetheless. So much so that in 1994, Phish commissioned “Reverend” Jeff Mosier to accompany the band on a run of Midwest shows, teaching them about bluegrass along the way. It was a transformative experience: Trey Anastasio learned to play fiddle, Mike Gordon took to the banjo, Page McConnell learned the upright bass and Jon Fishman played the mandolin and washboard.
Today, Phish tend to keep to their traditional instruments (guitar, bass, keys, drums), although the group still plays a handful of bluegrass originals and covers on any given night. A number of entries on this list are Phish rarities, while a couple highlight entire shows. Others you’re likely to hear next weekend, during the band’s three-night run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. Regardless, all are best enjoyed with a flask of “Bathtub Gin.”