I've always wanted to explore the music of The Grateful Dead, but obviously it's a daunting task. How does one jump into a band with such a legacy? I know every little about all the musicians involved, except the names of the most widely known participants. I know they've had various side projects under various names relating to the original band, too. I'm not ashamed to admit that it's been John Mayer's recent inclusion into the latest line up that finally got me to test the waters. I went and purchased American Beauty, which has been considered their most mainstream, I guess, or definitely widely known album. I played it through a few times and I really dug it. I don't always focus much on lyrics with some songs, unless they are obvious ones. But eventually something will catch my ear, and I'll listen closer and try to make sense of the song. What I do enjoy most about them so far is the laid back vibe, and the constant instrumental play between all the members. Although, I have noticed with some live sets from Pandora, I feel like a long stretch of time has passed and it's still on the same song, but I have to really think how much time actually did pass. This is all without any sort of herbal or other influence, mind you...so I can only imagine how it must be for the real "Deadheads", lol. I'm not too crazy about anyone's singing voice so far, not to knock it...but clearly they aren't known for their vocal attributes. But I've been wondering how does one go about knowing who is singing on different songs? I have to do a bit of reading, I'm guessing. Obviously I can search the credits for American Beauty, but a buddy of mine sent me two live shows via email. I've only downloaded one so far, and I don't really know what's going on. Usually I'm not big on live stuff until I'm familiar with songs, so I'm thinking I should check out some more actual albums. However, I do appreciate my friend sending me stuff as well, he's been a Deadhead for as long as I've known him (just an online buddy, not someone who can lend me albums in person). Anyway, was just wondering what some thoughts are. Any favorites or stand out performances to check out, etc?