Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir has teamed up with members of the National – Aaron Dessner, Scott and Bryan Devendorf – for a collaborative night of music and voter education. On Saturday, the musicians will congregate at Weir’s TRI Studios in San Rafael, California for the Bridge Session, a live webcast featuring two musical sets and a political discussion. The performances will include selections from both band’s catalogs, as well as some politically-minded cover songs.
“I’m really looking forward to this,” Weir tells Rolling Stone of the program, which will stream for free at 9 p.m. ET on TRI’s website and Yahoo! Music. “I was unfamiliar with these guys until this started coming together, and I’ve been listening to them and I’ve been learning a bunch of their stuff. You put a couple of disparate – relatively; we’re not all that disparate – but you put a couple of disparate elements together and mix it up real good and see what you get. I’m smitten by some of the tunes that I’ve been wanting to do with them.”
Weir says that he’s been enjoying learning the National’s songs so much, some of their selections could make it into his set when he embarks on a solo acoustic tour, following his current commitments with his band Furthur.
Additional members of the one-time-only band include Walt Martin of the Walkmen, Conrad Doucette of Takka Takka, the Yellowbirds’ Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman, and National contributors Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett and Kyle Resnick. Between sets, a panel of politicals figure and activists will engage in a debate about issues facing voters this election year. Panelists include independent presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, Mark McKinnon (former media advisor to George W. Bush, John McCain, Bono and Lance Armstrong), climate change activist Jessy Tolkan and Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow. The Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein will serve as MC.
The event is being produced by HeadCount, a non-partisan grassroots organization that has aligned itself with live music events for voter registration drives. Weir sits on its Board of Directors.
Check out this video for a preview of the Bridge Session.