Photo by Jessica Burbridge
Renowned bassist Oteil Burbridge, known for his powerful presence in groups like Dead & Company and Allman Brothers Band, has announced the upcoming release of his anticipated album, Lovely View of Heaven. The heartfelt homage to the musical genius of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter is set to release on Sept. 15. In celebration of the project’s announcement, Burbridge shared the project’s debut single, a cover of “Stella Blue,” and an accompanying music video.
Lovely View of Heaven was meticulously crafted, recorded against the stunning backdrop of Iceland–as seen in the video for the new single–and produced by Alan Evans. The project features a collaborative effort with a roster of accomplished musicians, including Jason Crosby (Piano, Organ & Strings), Tom Guarna (Guitar), Pete Lavezzoli (Drums), Steve Kimock (Guitar), John Kimock (Drums), Adam Tenenbaum (Guitar Sounds) and Kofi Burbridge (Flute).
The project is far more than just a collection of covers: For Burbridge, the album represents a personal odyssey, a way to navigate the seas of grief following the loss of his father, brother Kofi Burbridge and mentor Col. Bruce Hampton. Through his renditions of Garcia and Hunter’s cherished compositions, Burbridge finds a channel to process pain and heartache and give way to the next day.
“Looking back, I don’t feel like I was able to really process all the pain from these huge losses until I started working on these ballads,” Oteil shared in a press release. “All these arrangements were written through many tears. And all the vocal tracks were recorded that way as well.”
Burbridge went on to express his heartfelt aspiration for the album to serve as a catalyst for listeners to confront and find solace in their own pain: “It is my sincere hope that this album will be a catalyst for listeners to process their pain as it was for me.”
Burbridge made subtle yet significant alterations to the original material in his quest to create something authentically meaningful. “In a real sense it is Garcia, Hunter, and Burbridge. I have rewritten a small amount of it. Or rather added to it. As you will hear. My hope is that it will not put off the listener but rather reveal another angle of perspective,” Burbridge explained.
With a spirit of openness and reverence for the source material, Burbridge extends a warm invitation to both loyal Deadheads and newcomers: “You can still sing along but you may find the furniture moved around. It’s still your favorite chair but the rooms are redecorated. Be reassured though. All of my influences are pretty much the same as those of the guys in the Grateful Dead thanks to my Dad, Kofi, and Col. Bruce Hampton. I hope Deadheads will ‘trust me with their children’ and those who are not Deadheads will embrace the open-mindedness of the spirit of this music and give it a try.”
Read an interview with Burbrige via Jambands.com here.
Limited edition vinyl pre-orders are already available and can be found here. Listen to “Stella Blue,” here or below.