1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

New Riders of the Purple Sage

By

New Riders of the Purple Sage Album Cover

New Riders of the Purple Sage (1971)

Image Courtesy of Columbia Records

Overview:

Initially a side project by members of the Grateful Dead, the New Riders of the Purple Sage were a country-rock band with a psychedelic edge.

Trivia Facts about New Riders of the Purple Sage:

  • One reason the group started was so Jerry Garcia could practice playing a new instrument: the pedal-steel guitar.
  • The band's name was taken from the Zane Grey novel Riders of the Purple Sage

Influences:

The Byrds, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens

Recommended Albums by New Riders of the Purple Sage:

  • New Riders of the Purple Sage (1971)
  • Powerglide (1972)

Best Songs by New Riders of the Purple Sage:

  • "Panama Red"
  • "Lonesome L.A. Cowboy"
  • "Garden of Eden
  • "Portland Woman"
  • "Glendale Train"

Core Band Members:

  • John Dawson – guitar and vocals
  • David Nelson – guitar and vocals
  • Jerry Garcia – pedal-steel guitar
  • Phil Lesh – bass guitar (1969-1970)
  • Dave Torbert - bass guitar (1970-1974)
  • Mickey Hart – drums (1969-1970)
  • Spencer Dryden - drums (1970-1977)

Biography of New Riders of the Purple Sage:

John Dawson and Jerry Garcia founded the New Riders of the Purple Sage in 1969. Each man had his reasons. Dawson had previously played in Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Band Champions, and was looking for a forum where he could write country material. Meanwhile, Garcia wanted a chance to test his skills playing the pedal-steel guitar.

After performing in Bay Area coffee houses and manning the opening slot for the Grateful Dead, the New Riders of the Purple Sage came into their own in 1971 with their self-titled debut. By that time, Dead members Mickey Hart and Phil Lesh had separated from the psychedelic country act -- Garcia was soon to follow.

After 1976, the band's lineup changed wildly and, by 1982, the New Riders of the Purple Sage were no more. Nevertheless, Dawson continued to tour using the name into the 1990s.

  1. About.com
  2. Entertainment
  3. Country Music
  4. Artists A-Z
  5. Duos and Groups
  6. New Riders of the Purple Sage - Profile of New Riders of the Purple Sage

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.