In the past month or so, both Dead & Company guitarists – namely John Mayer and Bob Weir – have joined the acclaimed tribute act Joe Russo’s Almost Dead for extended sit-ins. Unlike most tribute bands, drummer Joe Russo has actually spent time performing with members of the band he tributes, during his tenure with Furthur. This sets Almost Dead on a unique trajectory, performing the music of the Grateful Dead with a background in, well, performing the music of the Grateful Dead.The first of these high-profile sit-ins came when John Mayer made his way to the Brooklyn Bowl back in October. Mayer has found himself in the center of the Dead universe after his full transformation into Deadheadism, catapulted to prominence by his fame and, more importantly, his talent. The guitarist is a faithful bearer of the proverbial torch, steeped in blues rock traditions.When he made his way to the Brooklyn Bowl, John Mayer didn’t just join in for a song or two – he played an entire set with Almost Dead. A set with this band is no easy feat, as Joe Russo & co truly take liberties with the Grateful Dead catalog like few before them. Fortunately, Mayer is a pro, and he handled the band’s style with a passionate energy. You can hear that in full force on “The Other One,” streaming below.While Mayer adapted to the Joe Russo’s Almost Dead style, it seems that the band “almost” adapted to Bob Weir’s style when the Grateful guitarist joined them last weekend. Weir met up with his former Furthur bandmate, Russo, his future “Los Muertos Con Queso” bandmate, Tom Hamilton, and the whole Almost Dead crew for an intimate moment at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA. Unlike Mayer sitting in for a whole set of Almost Dead music, the band stripped down and welcomed out Weir for a five song acoustic set.This wasn’t the first time that Joe Russo’s Almost Dead went acoustic; they actually did that at the afore-mentioned Brooklyn Bowl run in October. However, when you consider Weir’s recently completed acoustic “Campfire Tour”, it’s evident that Almost Dead adapted to Weir for the set. Not that that’s a bad thing! Bob Weir is a legend, after all. The set itself featured a mix of Bob Dylan and Grateful Dead classics, not too far off from the “Campfire Tour” setlists.Watch Joe Russo’s Almost Dead perform “Cassidy” (with “Let It Grow” teases), courtesy of MarkoVision Films, below.As Bob Weir was a founding member of the Grateful Dead. it would make sense that Joe Russo’s Almost Dead would cater to his desired performance style. Meanwhile, John Mayer, as revered as he is as a musician, is still a newcomer to the Grateful Dead world. He seems naturally elated just to play the Grateful Dead’s music, and what better way to do so than with a band who are equally as elated to play the catalog. It seems that John Mayer is almost on a level playing field as the Joe Russo’s Almost Dead crew, a member of the next generation of Grateful disciples, while Weir is O.G. Dead.All in all, these collaborations detail an underlying devotion to the Grateful Dead. The music never stopped!
Bio Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016 Latest Posts Jay BrownFILE PHOTOELLSWORTH — While waiting for a flight inside the Philadelphia airport, Ellsworth High School Athletics Director Jay Brown was hit was with a realization.After 40 years in education, he was ready to retire.“I just thought, ‘I want to be able to travel and visit my kids,’’ Brown says. “It just felt like the perfect time.”Brown, 62, has served as EHS’s athletics director since 1999. He describes his role working with students and sports as “the perfect situation” for him, but he wanted to walk away while he still loved his job.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder text“I wanted to leave here happy,” Brown shrugs. “And I’m happy.”Brown, a Peaks Island native, graduated from Portland High School in 1971 and the University of Maine at Farmington in 1975. His most notable accomplishments over his career include coaching the Schenck High School girls’ basketball team to two Class C state championships in the 1990s.At EHS, he led the boys’ basketball team as interim coach to the Eastern Maine Class B semifinals twice during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons. He also oversaw the development of two new sports programs, football and volleyball, over his 16 years as athletics director.“I love this school,” Brown says. “Just to be part of this community has always been great for me.”Brown was a fixture to the sidelines of any given home game, usually wearing maroon attire and a grin. His approachable demeanor facilitated a casual rapport with students, which he says is what he’ll miss most.“I think I dealt with kids better than I dealt with adults,” Brown says, laughing. “It kept me young.”But Brown says the job wasn’t just about sports.“My door was always open,” he says. “Kids would come into my office with a problem, and I could talk to them. It wasn’t always about athletics. It was about stuff that’s important.”Brown is looking forward to getting to see more of some other kids: his own. His two daughters, Nicole and Morgan, live in Alabama and Texas.“My kids live so far away, and I really want to be able to visit them,” Brown says. “I was getting to that age where it was always on my mind, and I want to enjoy retirement while I still have my health.”Though Brown is excited to spend more time with his family and playing tennis, he says watching the spring sports season come to an end wasn’t easy.“I’ve tried to stay positive about it,” Brown says. “I’m still going to go to games, just in a different capacity.”For the first time in four decades, he’ll get to be there as a fan.“I’m proud of our teams,” Brown says. “I don’t know if there are a lot of people who love going to work every day.“But I did. I loved my job.” Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016 Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all) Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013. EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016