The New Riders of the Purple Sage got their start when songwriter John Dawson and fledgling pedal steel player Jerry Garcia teamed up to play some country music in coffee shops. Later that year lead guitarist John Nelson joined them, and before too long they had a full band supplemented by other Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart. While on the Festival Express tour across Canada, alongside acts like Janis Joplin, the Band and the Flying Burrito Brothers (and the Dead), they recruited pedal steel player Buddy Cage from the group Ian and Sylvia to replace an increasingly-busy Garcia. Dawson passed away in 2009, but Nelson and Cage are still at it today with a new set of bandmates. They'll be at Fairfield Theatre Company's StageOne Saturday night to play cowboy tunes like "Panama Red" that hearken back to the days of American Beauty-era psychedelic country music.
New Riders of the Purple Sage
Fairfield Theatre Company's StageOne, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield. Sat., March 16, 7:30 p.m. $37. (203) 259-1036. fairfieldtheatre.org.