Many Grateful Dead sympathizers tend to prefer the material that the band recorded as a one-drummer ensemble, during drummer/percussionist Mickey Hart’s hiatus from the Dead in the early ‘70s. This was the period of American Beauty and Europe ’72, when the band’s “electric ragtime” sound really blossomed and when Garcia/Hunter were writing their strongest set of songs. Hart’s temporary departure is itself the stuff of myth: It was, legend has it, a self-imposed tenure of repentance for the financial abuses of Hart’s father, an early manager of the group.
When the layman-musicologist Hart returned to the band in 1974, it was just in time to help push its sound in the world/prog/fusion direction that it would ride out for the remainder of the decade. Part musician, part scholar, Hart is a compelling figure in rock history.
Currently in the midst of a lengthy tour, the Mickey Hart Band makes a stop at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock this Wednesday, September 5. Showtime is 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $40 to $60. The Bearsville Theater is located at 291 Tinker Street (Route 212) n Woodstock. For more information, call (845) 679-4406 or visit www.bearsvilletheater.com.