A few years back, I bought a book called "The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics." For any given song, there would be dozens of footnotes (in some cases, pages of footnotes), explaining the references in their lyrics. They would quote full 19th century folk songs, share chunks of American (or Ancient Greek) history, or random details about their lives.
It was cool to read, but this project makes more sense in podcast form. From the random bits that I've listened to, they include samples of old folk songs that inspired the Dead's song structures and lyrics. It's a dimension that can't come through in a book. It seems like they have 40-60 minutes worth of material for any given Dead song! Crazy. Not sure if or how I'll get through this, but I'm making a page here to remember it exists.
https://jambands.com/news/2020/07/09/grateful-dead-launch-new-podcast-the-good-ol-grateful-deadcast/ "The band announced a new podcast, ‘The Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast,’ a weekly series “devoted to exploring the music and mythology behind one of the most enduring, progressive, and influential bands in the history of recorded music.” "According to a statement from Grateful Dead HQ, “the Deadcast’s weekly episodes will present an aural and oral history of the Grateful Dead’s long strange trip. The podcast’s tagline is “For The Committed And The Curious,” as episodes will invite new fans to explore the band’s enormous mythology in digestible chunks and enlighten life-long Dead Heads about corners of the band’s history they never knew existed. No topic will be off limits on “The Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast” as Mahan and Jarnow explore the band’s outrageous history, innovations, and impact from 1965 to today. Many of the unsolved mysteries of the Dead world will also be explained including: which obscure Macedonian folk song Jerry Garcia borrowed the “Uncle John’s Band” melody from; dating the exact writing of “Dire Wolf”; and locating the secret trail between Garcia and Janis Joplin’s houses.”