The New Riders of the Purple Sage

The New Riders of the Purple Sage was a Bay Area outfit conceived in 1969 as a way for Jerry Garcia and company to rock their country roots. Teaming up with other Dead members, bassist Phil Lesh and drummer Mickey Hart, the New Riders joined forces with guitarist David Nelson and rhythm guitarist and vocalist John Dawson to navigate the psychedelic circuit and bring country-rock to their fan base. The Rider's self-titled first album sold well and established the group as a credible off-shoot of the quintessential acid-rockers, the Grateful Dead. While most of their recognition was, arguably, as a result of their Dead affiliation, when Jerry, Phil and Mickey dropped out as full time members before the release of the band's second album, Powerglide, the remaining Riders were ready and able to hold their own. Switching labels from Columbia to MCA at the end of the 70's disrupted their flow, and the band underwent some more changes in their lineup while struggling to stay fresh in the face of an evolving music industry. General disinterest in the country-rock sound at the time ultimately led to the Rider's calling it quits, and they disbanded in 1982.

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