Musician, producer, author, folklorist, Grateful Dead scholar, syndicated terrestrial radio host (“The Grateful Dead Hour” broadcast from the legendary KPFA in Berkeley), satellite radio host (“Tales From the Golden Road“) and all-around-interesting fellow David Gans visited The Pour House Wednesday night. Gans is constantly on the move, co-hosting “Golden Road” with Gary Lambert at various places throughout the country while making his living as an itinerant, card-carrying member of The Traveling Musicians’ Union, AFM Local 1000.

Gans makes his way to the Triangle every few years, including a pair of performances that served as highlights of Shakori Hills a few years back. He combines his original tunes with teases of Grateful Dead material to create intricate, guitar-driven loops. After a set of solo songs, Gans joined the Rumpke Mountain Boys from Cincinnati. They complemented him like a jug band, minus the jug. They chugged through numbers including “Big River” and “Keep Your Day Job.” Gans then took a break, letting the Boys launch into a solid version of the Richard Thompson-via-Del McCoury number “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.” Their version would have garnered much applause at September’s IBMA World of Bluegrass.

As the clock ticked toward midnight, Gans returned to the stage for a few numbers just as I exited The Pour House. Walking through the alleyway, I could hear the mandolin ringing against the danceable beat. In that moment, it was easy to understand why Gans likes traveling with this bunch: He has been a torchbearer for an entire world of Deadheads for so long, but the Rumpke Mountain Boys inject something that might have gone overlooked—fun.

David Gans – “Jam—>Blue Roses”

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