Formed in the fall of last year over their love of the Grateful Dead and jam sessions, From the Vault is excited for their long awaited debut performance at the Opera House in Shepherdstown, WV on April 21st. In preparation for their performance, The Jamwich sat down with The Vault to learn more about how they got together and why they think the music and love of the Grateful Dead will stand the test of time.

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The Jamwich: When did the band start and how did it come together?

From the Vault: The Vault essentially formed after a series of casual jam sessions, which began in early fall 2017.  We quickly realized that we shared more than an affection toward the music of the Grateful Dead. The collaboration of our unique styles and instrumentation sparked intrigue and a sense that we needed to pursue an authentic re-creation of the Grateful Dead’s earlier years (mid 60’s to mid 70’s).

The Jamwich: What other bands or projects have your members worked in?

FTV:  Gene Jeffers’ lead guitar style is unmistakably inspired by Jerry Garcia and other notable lead guitarists from the late 60’s.  Joe Herbert (Joe Herbert Project, Indoe Loop, others) serves as the group’s primary lead vocalist, while holding down a solid sense of the intricate timing on rhythm guitar.  Drummer, Jay Meil, is not afraid to tackle new percussion patterns and can easily follow the more difficult extended, spacey jam segments that the band often explores within their interpretations.  Committed to searching for the “Phil-zone,” Vincent Paul is relatively new to the bass; but, folks may remember him playing mandolin and singing lead in other past projects (Flint Hollow, The Window Panes, among others).  Over the past three months, From The Vault has added vocalist Carrie Ann (former Shenandoah Conservatory student and vocalist within various ensembles) and multi-instrumentalist Will Zirkle on keyboard for his musical performance debut.

The Jamwich: Do you re-create specific sets by the Grateful Dead or just songs?

FTV: Rather than re-create specific sets, From The Vault selects material that they share a common joy in performing and experiencing together.  The band has rehearsed nearly 30 songs from the Grateful Dead’s vast catalogue, over the past 6 months. While the majority of the songs rehearsed are derived from the early years, there are a few surprises in there from beyond that period that should get the audience grooving and soaking up the sounds.  

The Jamwich: What do you think was the best Grateful Dead album?

FTV: If you poll the individual band members about their favorite Grateful Dead album, you’ll likely get much more than you anticipated in response.  Instead, you’ll hear about their favorite shows, how many shows they attended first-hand, which instrument set-up they preferred among the Dead’s members, or which version of their favorite songs they prefer – right down to the date and location of the concert where the song was recorded.  

The Jamwich: Why do you think the music of the Grateful Dead stands the test of time?

FTV: The Grateful Dead’s music has inspired literally hundreds, if not thousands, of music ensembles and groups to perform their music for decades.  There seems to be no shortage of Grateful Dead tribute bands around the world and they each have their own unique interpretations. Perhaps, the Grateful Dead’s music stands the test of time because it not only bridges musical gaps across a variety of genres; but, it has the uncanny ability to assemble people from a variety of backgrounds, regions, and cultures for the shared experience of enjoying the music – as one.  With so much disagreement and uncertainty in society, it is refreshing that at least music can still unite people together. The music of the Grateful Dead undoubtedly arrived at a time when folks needed to simply come together; and, in many regards, not much has changed since their original debut in the mid-60’s. ​

The Jamwich: Have you played Opera House before or been to this area? What do you like about it?

FTV: ​April 21st not only marks From The Vault’s first appearance at the Opera House; it is the band’s long-awaited debut performance.  Shepherdstown, and more specifically, the Opera House, has a long history of hosting notable music performances and featuring the styles of music that we are most comfortable with.  The band considers it a tremendous privilege to have this wonderful opportunity to perform at the Opera House and will be opening for DC’s Phish Tribute – The Last Rewind.