The National are recruiting a gang of indie-rock all-stars for an upcoming Grateful Dead tribute album. It will feature covers from an eclectic group of acts, including Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver, Kurt Vile and the War on Drugs. The National are aiming to enlist more high-profile members soon, including guitarists Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo) and Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth).
Proceeds from the album will go to Red Hot, a not-for-profit organization focused on AIDS awareness. The project is being led by the National’s twin guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner, who previously contributed to another Red Hot benefit project, the 2009 compilation Dark Was the Night.
Aaron Dessner recently spoke with Relix about the album. “It is kind of an ambitious project both because of the legacy and the material,” he said. “We are obsessed enough with the Grateful Dead that it is kind of a monumental idea.”
The National have Dead-head credentials: last year, the band performed with founding Dead member Bob Weir at TRI Studios for “The Bridge Sessions” benefit concert.