Here’s what Blair has to say about the song:
When I started listening to the Grateful Dead I had no idea of the journey I was embarking on. Their influence touches nearly every musical avenue I travelled since. Yet, it’s not just about the music. It’s become a way of life, a way of acting, a way of thinking and a way of discovering. It is my extended family – a gathering of kindred spirits who seek to furthur the group consciousness and embrace the infinite possibilities that surround us – both musically and in brotherhood and sisterhood.
Like so many in the community, I was immediately drawn to Jerry. He made you feel like you knew him. He didn’t have to say a word and it felt like he had all the answers. And he seemed to always play the perfect song.
I suspect I wouldn’t be playing bluegrass today if I hadn’t heard the Grateful Dead. When I first heard songs like Friend of the Devil, Cumberland Blues and Jack-A-Roe they appealed to me in every way. I wanted to hear more and I wanted to learn more. And so I began my journey into the music. I learned of Jerry’s love of bluegrass and his dream to play banjo for Bill Monroe. I was turned onto Old & In the Way. I heard the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band. I started listening to the String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge. I was turned onto John Hartford, Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, the Stanley Bros, Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Monroe. I started playing the standup bass. I started playing bluegrass. I started writing songs.
I wrote Fairlee Well when my wife and I were living in an old church in Kemble, ON, Canada. I didn’t specifically start out writing the song as an ode to Jerry. Truth be told, I was trying to channel my inner Peter Rowan when I started writing the song. I was trying to write a song, in feel, that had that cool breezy laidback playing guitar on a horse and singin’-type feel to it. Lyrically, I didn’t have an aim. Though I’m not surprised it ended up how it did. Jerry and Hunter have found an eternal place of being in the attics of my mind as their song and lyric guide me through my day.
I humbly tip my hat to Robert Hunter. Without his tales, this song could not have been written. The beauty and power of his words are mesmerizing. His stories are ones I love and come back to time and again. They soothe my soul.
Many thanks to my friends in the Blurry Pickers for bringing this song to life. Todd Gillies (guitar/vocal), Patricia Schnurr (backup vocal), Dan Walsh (dobro), Ryan Morrison (banjo), Mark Schnurr (mandolin), Rosa Ernst (fiddle) and Brad Bossence (bass). A special thanks as well to Rusty Enns, Tim Ewing and Christy Muddle for their commitment to further the sound.
It is a privilege and honour to be giving back to a community that has given me so much and an organization that gives so much for others! Thanks to all of you for your support and your support of the Rex Foundation.
To purchase the song, follow this link.
Check out the video:
Rex Executive Director Sandy Sohcot says:
The Rex Foundation would like to extend our deep appreciation to Blair Babcock and the Blurry Pickers for all their creative and thoughtful efforts to have the downloading of the song ”Fairlee Well” be part of the Rex Musical Caravan. And, we are so pleased to have this connection to friends in Canada.
Reading Blair’s reflections about composing “Fairlee Well” and having proceeds from the sale support Rex inspires and encourages us as we connect through music to benefit the community.