A little over a week ago, one of our favorite bands, The National, and their label, 4AD, finally announced details of a project they’ve all been talking about for a while now—Day of the Dead, a massive tribute to the Grateful Dead that marks the 20th album of original music the organization Red Hot has produced over the past 25 years to help raise awareness and money to fight HIV/AIDS and related health issues. The collection was curated by curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National and singer Matt Berninger has been talking about the project since his press tour for the documentary his brother did, Mistaken for Strangers, in 2014. So it’s been on people’s radar for a while now, but we don’t think we’re alone in not until now understanding the scope of the project—the 5 CD, soon-to-be-announced LP box set, nearly 6 hour long collection features 60 bands doing their renditions of 59 Dead tracks. That’s nearly a workday’s worth of Ahoni, Wilco, Angel Olsen, Jim James, The Tallest Man on EarthLocal Natives, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and, of course, The National, playing some of the most beloved songs of American country-folk-pop-Americana…to name a fraction of those involved.

We can’t imagine what it took to put this whole thing together, but we like what we’ve heard so far. Day of the Dead won’t hit store shelves/your download folder until May 20, but, you can pre-order it via 4AD now—t’s a mere $29.99 for all of that music and remember, it benefits the good work of Red Hot (the last collection the Dessners did for the organization, Dark Was The Night, has raised over $1.5 million for the organizations fighting AIDS to date). 

One of our favorite tributes so far is The War on Drugs‘ version of “Touch of Grey”; you can listen to that below along with four other tracks that have been released to promote the collection by The National (they actually get four tracks across the collection), Phosphorescent + Jenny Lewis,  Bruce Hornsby + DeYarmond Edison, and Melbourne’s darling of indie rock, Courtney Barnett. Full track list of Day of the Dead below the video streams. Find out more and pre-order the album in its various forms via the Day of the Dead web site.

Bonus related post over at our sister web journal, Forgotten Favorite—our write up on the Dead, Freaks and Geeks, and “Box of Rain”.

“Thunder” (Vol.1)
01. Touch of Grey – The War on Drugs
02. Sugaree – Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis & Friends
03. Candyman – Jim James & Friends
04. Cassidy – Moses Sumney, Jenny Lewis & Friends
05. Black Muddy River – Bruce Hornsby and DeYarmond Edison
06. Loser – Ed Droste, Binki Shapiro & Friends
07. Peggy-O – The National
08. Box of Rain – Kurt Vile and the Violators (featuring J Mascis)
09. Rubin and Cherise – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends
10. To Lay Me Down – Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten & Friends
11. New Speedway Boogie – Courtney Barnett
12. Friend of the Devil – Mumford & Sons
13. Uncle John’s Band – Lucius
14. Me and My Uncle – The Lone Bellow & Friends
15. Mountains of the Moon – Lee Ranaldo, Lisa Hannigan & Friends
16. Black Peter – Anohni and yMusic
17. Garcia Counterpoint – Bryce Dessner
18. Terrapin Station (Suite) – Daniel Rossen, Christopher Bear and The National (featuring Josh Kaufman, Conrad Doucette, So Percussion and Brooklyn Youth Chorus)
19. Attics of My Life – Angel Olsen
20. St. Stephen (live) – Wilco with Bob Weir

“Lightning” (Vol. 2)
01. If I Had the World to Give – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
02. Standing on the Moon – Phosphorescent & Friends
03. Cumberland Blues – Charles Bradley and Menahan Street Band
04. Ship of Fools – Tallest Man on Earth & Friends
05. Bird Song – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends
06. Morning Dew – The National
07. Truckin’ – Marijuana Deathsquads
08. Dark Star – Cass McCombs, Joe Russo & Friends
09. Nightfall of Diamonds – Nightfall of Diamonds
10. Transitive Refraction Axis for John Oswald – Tim Hecker
11. Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad – Lucinda Williams & Friends
12. Playing in the Band – Tunde Adebimpe, Lee Ranaldo & Friends
13. Stella Blue – Local Natives
14. Eyes of the World – Tal National
15. Help on the Way – Bela Fleck
16. Franklin’s Tower – Orchestra Baobab
17. Till the Morning Comes – Luluc with Xylouris White
18. Ripple – The Walkmen
19. Brokedown Palace – Richard Reed Parry with Caroline Shaw and Little Scream (featuring Garth Hudson)

“Sunshine” (Vol. 3)
01. Here Comes Sunshine – Real Estate
02. Shakedown Street – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
03. Brown-Eyed Women – Hiss Golden Messenger
04. Jack-A-Roe – This Is the Kit
05. High Time – Daniel Rossen and Christopher Bear
06. Dire Wolf – The Lone Bellow & Friends
07. Althea – Winston Marshall, Kodiak Blue and Shura
08. Clementine Jam – Orchestra Baobab
09. China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider – Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
10. Easy Wind – Bill Callahan
11. Wharf Rat – Ira Kaplan & Friends
12. Estimated Prophet – The Rileys
13. Drums -> Space – Man Forever, So Percussion and Oneida
14. Cream Puff War – Fucked Up
15. Dark Star – The Flaming Lips
16. What’s Become of the Baby – s t a r g a z e
17. King Solomon’s Marbles – Vijay Iyer
18. Rosemary – Mina Tindle & Friends
19. And We Bid You Goodnight – Sam Amidon
20. I Know You Rider (live) – The National with Bob Weir