Watch: Eric Church Delivers ‘Tennessee Jed’ Cover That Would Make the Grateful Dead Proud

by Charles Craighill

In this hurried-up world we live in, it’s easy to get caught up driving pedal-to-the-metal in the seemingly separate directions of our lives. Easy to focus on the things that divide us. But at the end of the day, it’s the simple things in life that remind us there’s more that unites us than could ever divide us. And when we take a moment to really appreciate it, nothing has the power to unite us like music.

Country music superstar Eric Church embodied the unifying powers of music when he covered Grateful Dead’s “Tennessee Jed.” Taking a song that many would consider far beyond the boundaries of country music, and making it his own. Unifying rock music enthusiasts with country music fans in one moving performance.

In front of a packed crowd at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Eric Church put a twist on the Grateful Dead classic. While the countrified rendition did not divulge into a twenty-minute jam as some Grateful Dead tunes tend to do, it did give a twist on the classic Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter ballad.

For instance, Eric Church gave his own take on the melody, fitting the lyrics to his deeper voice. In the chorus, the Grateful Dead typically harmonizes as they sing in high voices. Church, however, decides to keep it in his baritone voice before ascending for the final line of the chorus. This kind of innovation and ingenuity was what the Grateful Dead did best, and would certainly approve of this creative cover.

However, Eric Church elected to keep the iconic guitar riff signature to the song. His lead guitarist threw on a slide to really give it a bluesy, Nashville sound. Perfectly blending two different worlds of music. The CMA Entertainer of the Year, as expected, gave the song more of a driving, punching tone, as opposed to the groovy, playful sound the Dead typically cultivated. Once again, the Grateful Dead would have certainly adored any creative alterations to their classic tune.

Check out Eric Church’s incredible Grateful Dead cover above.

Eric Church Plays Super Bowl National Anthem

Just like his take on the Grateful Dead tune, Eric Church made a few alterations to his National Anthem performance. The Super Bowl National Anthem is typically notorious for going way longer than necessary, ironically like most Dead songs. In fact, there usually is betting over/under on its duration. Church, however, made a few alterations to make sure the tune stayed in time.

In collaboration with Jazmine Sullivan, Eric Church sang a duet accompanied by guitar. The timing and cadence of the unmistakable song came off a bit different than normal. This ended up working out wonderfully, as the original rendition drew enormous applause from the limited capacity crowd. Once again, Eric Church proved he can cover any song of any genre. And give it a little taste of country music.