Anela Lauren - Box of Rain (Grateful Dead) | Track Review | By Volume

I'm afraid of heaven because I can't stand the height. I'm afraid of you because I can't be left behind. St. Vincent - Regret
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Anela Lauren

Box of Rain

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Author: on September 17, 2013

Anela Lauren writes the greatest email pitch ever, but that’s in part because her music is the greatest sonic pitch ever: Grateful Dead covers, but on the Celtic harp. It’s the kind of sentence that should probably end with a question mark – like, ‘can you imagine?’ – but it’s also likely to pique the interest of at least one person per internet publication. For the stock younger Dead fan, it’s also a welcome left-field take on the band’s music in an era when bands like the National want to make compilations of their jams with delicate and pleasing indie rock. The move Lauren takes is slightly more gimmicky, in a very good way – in the same way the Dead would cover a Dylan song and stamp their special brand on it, Lauren’s harp playing tributes them in her own chosen style. That’s tradition.

In reality, Lauren’s covers are more conventional, a full band backing her with adept renditions of the Dead’s countrified songs, the acoustics of the room serving to make her versions warmer and less stark than the original material. “Box of Rain”, borrowed from the folksy, backyard American Beauty, is supplemented well, focusing on Lauren’s harp performance by letting it flit through the performance like curtains letting in light. It’s a subtle and serene cover, one that remembers the Dead fondly and generously. The gimmick is the pull to Harpin’ On The Dead, but I’m grateful Lauren doesn’t submit to it.

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