Classical Guitar Grateful Dead? Yes!


Arranging pop and rock songs for classical guitar is nothing new, of course. Chances are you’ve heard a Takemitsu or Brouwer interpretation of a Beatles tune, or maybe you’ve played CG writer Steve Marsh‘s take on tunes by David Bowie and Procol Harum. But the venerable San Francisco rock band the Grateful Dead (celebrating their 50th anniversary this year) is perhaps an unlikely source for classical guitar arrangements. And who would expect them to come from a guitarist based on the Spanish island of Mallorca?


Yet, four years ago, Damià Timoner was one of hundreds of musicians who submitted a video to the Grateful Dead’s website for the first edition of their Dead Covers Project contest, in which bands and solo performers present their interpretations of Grateful Dead songs. Timoner’s version of “Cassidy” (music by Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir) was the only classical-guitar entry in the contest in 2012, and it caused a sensation: it was among just five videos selected as one of the top submissions.

“Cassidy” and another Grateful Dead song, “Loser” (music by Jerry Garcia), appear on Timoner’s fine 2012 CD, Solid, which is dominated by his own often lyrical, and always impeccably played, compositions. Besides arranging a few other Dead songs since that album came out, Timoner has also tackled such songs as Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” all available for viewing on YouTube.