By Hayden Wright
Stephen Colbert recruited Dead and Company for a two-night residency on The Late Show, and last night (Nov 16) the Grateful Dead side project (featuring John Mayer) performed “Jack Straw.” The song comes from the Grateful Dead’s album Europe ’72 and was written by Bob Weir and Robert Hunter.
The band will appear on The Late Show again tonight to complete their mini-residency. In 2007, Weir gave some background on the song’s literary inspiration:
“I don’t watch much TV, but one night I was home, it was late, and an old version of Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men came on,” he told Uncut. “I was mesmerized. We were coming out of the Workingman’s Dead phase, and Hunter had this lyric. I grabbed it, and we came with a little sketch of heartland Americana, a ballad about two ne’er-do-wells. It was patterned on Of Mice And Men, but we tried to put a twist or two on it. Same story, different context.”
Watch Dead & Company’s live performance of “Jack Straw” here: