My Top 1000 Songs #49: Box Of Rain
While Workingman's Dead from earlier the same year introduced the replacement of the band's 60s psychedelia with largely acoustic Americana, "Box Of Rain" opens up American Beauty with an even bolder proclamation that the band has really locked in on the rustic vibe. The guitars shimmer and chime. Lesh's voice is relatively restrained, aided immeasurably by a few layers of harmonies. And Robert Hunter's lyrics are at their most poetic and cryptic--Lesh has noted how they capture the spirit of his father, who was dying of cancer at the time, but they're open to a wide berth of interpretation. "For this is all a dream we dreamed, one afternoon long ago."