“I had a GREAT time at Dead Ends Live! I met a bunch of great musicians, played two full sets with the amazing Joe Craven, and got to perform in a beautiful church in front of a full house!”

David Gans/Host of the Grateful Dead Radio Hour


John Kadlecik is a singer, songwriter, and musician who can play most string instruments, but is primarily known for being a guitar-slinging sideman and vocalist to Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir in the band Furthur.

Also, an original co-founder of the group 
Dark Star Orchestra, John has been performing improvisational-oriented shows regularly since the late 1980s and has performed worldwide for the better part of the last 30+ years.

After performing with Hammond B3 master Melvin Seals many times over the years, John became a full-time member of 
Melvin Seals & JGB in 2019 and continues to play with JGB to excited audiences nationwide. His work also includes several studio releases of original music, and he is currently active with his solo Acousti’Lectric show, Melvin Seals & JGB, The John Kadlecik Band, Keller Williams Grateful Gospel, and “supergroup” the Golden Gate Wingmen.


Joe Craven is a Freestyle folk, world and roots music multi-instrumentalist, singer and award-winning educator. He plays fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, tres, cavaquinho, balalaika, as well as a world of percussion. Craven is a well-known sight at acoustic music festivals and, for many years, was violinist and percussionist for the Jerry Garcia/David Grisman Band and the David Grisman Quintet, and he recorded extensively with both groups. 


Joe was also a member of the acoustic super-group Psychograss with other Grisman alumni, Todd Phillips, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall. He’s played and recorded with many other greats including, Stephane Grappelli, Alison Brown, Rob Ickes and David Lindley and his discography includes such critically acclaimed titles as Camptown, Django Latino and The Garcia Songbook which has been called, “the best Grateful Dead / Garcia cover album yet.”

“David Gans has a wonderful way of getting to the emotional center of Grateful Dead songs. He has very much his own twist on these world treasures and yet pays proper homage to the elements that made them great”

Jeff Mattson, Dark Star Orchestra


David Gans is a musician, songwriter and journalist. He is a guitarist known for incisive, literate song-writing. He is also noted for his music loop work, often creating spontaneous compositions in performance. David has also co-written songs with Robert Hunter, Peter Rowan and Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth, while members of RatDog, Phil Lesh & Friends, as well as David Grisman, and Darol Anger have played on David’s solo albums.


He is the co-author and author of many books including Playing in the Band: An Oral and Visual Portrait of the Grateful Dead, and Conversations With The Dead. He’s host of the weekly syndicated radio show The Grateful Dead Hour and co-hosts Sirius XM39s Tales from the Golden Roada call-in show about the Grateful Dead. David has been involved in many facets of Dead compilations and re-issues, too many to name here, but he was one of the producers of the brilliant So Many Roads (1965-1995) Grateful Dead box set and the Jerry Garcia box, All Good Things. He has also co-written songs with Robert Hunter, Peter Rowan and Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth.

New Yorker Chris Jones’s interest in bluegrass was sparked when he lived in Albuquerque with his father and stepmother who listened to country and bluegrass. He took up guitar at age 12 and by age 18 was playing with New York’s Horse Country as lead singer and guitarist. After four years with Chicago’s the Special Consensus, he played with Whetstone Run, the Lynn Morris Band, the McCarters, and Dave Evans.


Jones moved to Nashville in 1989 as a member of the band Weary Hearts, and formed Chris Jones and the Night Drivers in 1995 and has been recording and touring since. He has performed with the Chieftains, Vassar Clements, Tom T Hall and Earl Scruggs.


“We are really looking forward to sharing some of the music that was an important part of the bluegrass and folk roots of the Grateful Dead. From songs like “Dark Hollow” to “Deep Ellum Blues” which draw connections between the Dead and musicians like Bill Monroe and Red Allen, we’ll honour the artists and sounds that both influenced us and captivated the imagination of Jerry Garcia in the 1960s and 70s. “

Albertan Sally Jones has over a decade of experience as a guitarist and harmony singer with the likes of Tom T. Hall, Marie Osmond, Harley Allen and Andrea Roberts, writing songs all the while. Sally’s vocal ability has earned her work in Nashville’s highly competitive studio scene, and as a songwriter, she has co-written with some of the business’s most respected writers, including Harley Allen and John Pennell. She has extensive experience as a singer and guitarist in both bluegrass and country music, and has performed and recorded with her husband Chris Jones, and brother-in-law Ron Block. To top off this varied musical resume, Sally added some formal education, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, and a Master’s Degree in Writing. 

Sally has the kind of voice and stage presence that quickly draws in an audience, and the broad spectrum of her musical experience enables her to appeal easily to both traditional and more contemporary listeners. Appearances nationally and internationally have included the Ryman, MerleFest, Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, and the European World of Bluegrass to name a few.  Sally appears at Dead Ends Live with husband Chris Jones.


Guitarist, songwriter and singer Tony D is best known for his role in the award-winning trio MonkeyJunk which he formed 15 years ago with Steve Marriner and Matt Sobb. Tony D is a ferocious guitar player who has a style uniquely his own, but one that is informed by many sources, both contemporary and traditional. This Ottawa-native is a Juno, Maple Blues and American Blues Music Award winner who has created a deep resume that includes 7 solo albums, his MonkeyJunk catalogue, and appearances on albums and/or tours with Susie Vinnick, Dutch Mason, Paul Reddick and David Gogo.


For Dead Ends Live, Tony D will be bringing his cool tones, ability to improvise and jam and his good time spirit to the ballroom setting with the Dave Babcock Band. On the acoustic front Tony will peel off some acoustic blues tunes from Grateful Dead favorites like blues legends Lightnin’ Hopkins and Rev. Gary Davis in a solo acoustic setting for the Roots of the Grateful Dead workshop, Saturday afternoon at McDougall United Church.


The Mbira Renaissance Band: will have any audience on its feet and dancing! Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the band delivers an afro-fusion, Thomas Mapfumo, Andy Brown and Bhundu Boys inspired sound that pays homage to the rich, ancient, musical genre of mbira music which has its roots in Zimbabwe. The members make up an eclectic group; drawing on their musical backgrounds in jazz, rock, Mediterranean, traditional Zimbabwean, and reggae music.


Upbeat, hypnotic songs weave elements of traditional mbira, jazz, reggae and afro-pop. The lyrics are sung predominantly in Shona and tell stories of love, migration, African – Canadian connections and a love of culture and tradition. The band features Geo Koufogiannakis on guitar, Vinay Jhass on drums, James Stuart on bass and Munya Vialy on keyboards. The Mbira Renaissance Band experience is a blend of visually appealing traditional and contemporary dancing by lead vocalist and mbira player Chaka Zinyemba and vocalist Chiedza Zinyemba.


The McGowan Family Band is an Edmonton based musical ensemble dedicated to producing innovative music and high energy shows that are accessible to a wide audience of all musical tastes and ages. With musical influences that include rock, folk, reggae and blues, The McGowan Family Band is looking to take their music on a career path by playing to new audiences on a regular basis. Between their original songs and familiar cover tunes, they are able to perform at any event. 


The McGowan Family Band’s nucleus consists of brothers Paul McGowan (guitar, vocals), Mark McGowan (drums, percussion, vocals, guitar) and Sean McGowan (guitar, vocals, bass). Playing and creating music was a large part of their upbringing and continues to be a collective passion. The current McGowan Family Band lineup is rounded out by Ryan Holmes (bass, guitar, vocals), Sean Brewer (guitar, bass, vocals, banjo), and Jason Kodie (keyboards, vocals). In February of 1999, The McGowan Family Band played their debut show to an appreciative crowd in Edmonton. Since then, the band has made numerous public appearances at clubs, fundraisers and outdoor festivals.


John Hewitt is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and filmmaker based out of Edmonton Alberta. In March of 2020 John’s Alberta debut was set to be released titled “American Hotel” but the pandemic brought all motion to a halt. Focussing on the studio and songwriting he continued to produce, write and record throughout 2021. coming up with material for 2021’s “Dead Lovers” and “Hollywood Reality” and 2022’s “Life Blood & Tears”. 

In that time he produced in his studio local Edmonton acts including Will Ryan’s “Way on Down the Mountainside” and Angie Klein’s “Made in Alberta”.  


2022 saw the return to the road where John performed across Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Montana, Utah and Colorado. Highlights include the Canmore Folk Festival, Wild Oats & Notes, Waynestock, the Whitefish Songwriter Festival (Montana), Black Rose Acoustic Society (Colorado), Millwoods Canada Day Celebrations, Waterton Opera House, Gallery House Concerts, the New Moon Folk Club, Northern Lights Folk Club, Lethbridge Folk Club and Nickelodeon Folk Club. 

John continues to tour and between tours he continues to produce local Edmonton acts including his own works. Life Blood and Tears: Volume II and Chaos and Conversation set to be released in 2023.

We’re sending good vibes and wishes for a speedy recovery to Christine who had to miss the event due to Covid-19. 


Music has taken Christine from touring Canada’s High Arctic with a tango trio, to playing Scottish Traditional music in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.


While classically trained, Christine in her many roles – cellist, composer and sound designer, is eclectic in her musical explorations. Her experiences include compositional commissions, arranging, studio sessions, theatre work, and performing as an ensemble musician with a variety of groups that play classical, folk, pop-jazz, and experimental music.


She is an experienced instructor, teaching professional master classes in workshop settings on both sides of the Atlantic. Christine was presented with CBC’s “Galaxie Award” for Best New Artist at Canada’s Junofest 2006!


During Dead Ends Live Christine will be guesting with some of the featured performers and adding her own interpretations of Grateful Dead and Dead related material to the program.


Edmonton and surrounding area is home to a great number of fiddle/violin players and some of these terrific instrumentalists will be featured in a Fiddle Summit at MacDougall United Church on Saturday afternoon. Renowned American fiddle players like Matt Glaser and Darol Anger have long kept a tradition of hosting Fiddle Summits alive at festivals and roots music events around North America, so we thought we’d use their inspiration to put together a similar event.


For Dead Ends Live 2023, the gifted Edmonton fiddle player Daniel Gervais will host our Fiddle Summit with an all-star cast that will include Calvin Vollrath, Jeremiah McDade, and Shannon Johnson.

The Dead Ends audience is guaranteed to hear some magical interplay on tunes that will run from swing to Celtic, to east coast traditional tunes thru gypsy jazz and more. Incidentally Daniel is the only Albertan to have won the Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Competition and all the participants in our Fiddle Summit are critically acclaimed artists in their own right.


Tracing the roots of musical influences of members of the Grateful Dead has been the subject of many research papers, music magazine articles and even the odd thesis as well as

the theme of a few recordings. For many of us, albums like Bear’s Choice (History of the Grateful Dead) really began shining the light on what the members of The Dead were tuned into as did recordings like Reckoning. The album The Music Never Stopped, which compiled tunes from sources that included Merle Haggard, Cannons Jug Stompers, Woody Guthrie, Henry Thomas, Howlin’ Wolf, Marty Robbins and Bonnie Dobson, was called “The Genetic Code of the Grateful Dead,” by our friend and Dead Ends Live artist David Gans.

Garcia was a bluegrass devotee, Pigpen was a hardcore bluesman, Bob Weir dove into fifties and sixties country classics and Robert Hunter was tuned into the oral folk tradition and classic writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. There’s a lot of territory to cover.


For this workshop, the Dead Ends Live audience will hear a superb group of musicians offer up everything from acoustic country blues to bluegrass classics to New Orleans piano romps to Appalachian ballads. Edmonton’s John Hewitt will host this workshop that will wind its way through all those aforementioned genres and more.

The Roots of the Grateful Dead will feature appearances by pianist/vocalist Rooster Davis, bluegrass greats Chris and Sally Jones, bluesman Tony D, and singer-songwriter David Gans.


Dave Babcock is simply one of Edmonton’s finest and best known musicians who has also been one of our busiest musicians for the last four decades.


The sax and flute playing bandleader, session ace and sideman has been one of the key pieces of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival House Band for decades where he’s backed blues legends Jimmy Witherspoon, Solomon Burke, Floyd Dixon, Rosco Gordon, Wanda Jackson, Taj Mahal, and Mike Farris.


Throughout his long association with Stony Plain Records, Dave has recorded with Long John Baldry, Amos Garrett, Jay McShann, Maria Muldaur, Duke Robillard, The Rockin’ Highliners, and Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ WayneHis playing is heard on Long John Baldry’s “Right To Sing The Blues” and on the Amos Garrett, Doug Sahm and Gene Taylor album “The Return Of The Formerly Brothers”, both of which won Juno Awards. Dave also regularly appears with Canadian bluesmen Jack De Keyzer, Colin James, Brent Parkin, and Jack Semple.


For Dead Ends Live, Dave will be working with long-time associates Rooster Davis (keys/vocals), Harry Gregg (bass) and Jamie Cooper (drums) and the quartet will be working with our headliner John Kadlecik, Tony D, Joe Craven and others as the weekend unfolds.


Violinist Shannon Johnson of The McDades (and McDeads) will be opening the festival as she leads The Terrapin String Quartet through a selection of Grateful Dead and Beatles tunes at MacDougall Church on Friday March 17.