Jesse Jarnow

Hi! I’m Jesse. I’m a writer and a DJ on WFMU. The Frow Show airs live late-night every Monday from 9pm to midnight on WFMU–91.1 in NYC, etc.–and wherever in time-space you are through my playlist page. I’ve got a highlights reel of favorite articles and miscellaneous writing. I co-host the official Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast.

You can follow along with whatever I’m currently doing by way of Twitter. I occasionally publish a more personal newsletter, dispatched judiciously, with book news, recent articles, Frow Show updates, links, and other ephemera. For the past few years on Twitter, I’ve been posting the results of a tape-by-tape Grateful Dead listening project, compiled starting here.

My newest book, Wasn’t That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the American Soul came out on Election Day 2018 via Da Capo Press. Recent liner note projects include Grateful Dead’s June 1976 box set, the 2019 Woodstock box sets, and Woods’ Strange To Explain.

Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America was published by Da Capo in 2016, and–as of September 2018–is available in the universe as a paperback.

Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock came out in 2012 via Gotham Books. You can acquire it via Powell’s or other fine book purveyors. A Spanish translation by music journalist Ignacio Julià is available through Sones. I’ve posted lots of other YLT related material on this site, including Hanukkah notes and a reader’s guide to the book.

All episodes of the Frow Show are archived. I hosted a season of the Alternate Routes podcast, spotlighting independent music not available on Spotify and major streaming services. With Osiris, I wrote and hosted the 5-part After Midnight podcast about Phish’s 1999-2000 New Year’s festival in Florida. The Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast has done seasons devoted to Workingman’s Dead (starting here) and American Beauty (starting here), going through each album song by song.

I’ve written liner notes for the Grateful Dead, Numero Group, Rhino Records, RVNG, Phish, Jäh Division, Garcia Peoples, and others, and talk about that and related/unrelated topics in an interview I did with

A few years ago, I helped assemble and wrote lots of notes for a DVD of my father’s animation, called Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow, produced by the truly excellent humans at Numero Group, collecting the films he made for Sesame Street and elsewhere.

Some pieces I’ve done have been featured in collections. I’ve also done a bit of educational writing. There’s lots of material scattered around this site, mostly under the category headers on the right-hand column.

I play in a band. We have an album called Useless Smile. You can follow our adventures on Twitter, which is also where I’m at most of the time.

Some recent work:

New Lives: Experimental, Folk, and Jazz Artists Revitalize the Live Album (Bandcamp, 7/20)
The Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast: Workingman’s Dead (, weekly episodes, 7/20-8/20)
The Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast: Bear Drops #1, sporadic podcast about Owsley Stanley) (, 7/20)
Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz Tells His Side of the Story in New Memoir, Remain in Love (Pitchfork, 7/20)
Kyle Barnett & the Record Cultures of the Wild Midwest (Aquarium Drunkard, 7/20)
Jim White & Marisa Anderson, The Quickening (Pitchfork, 5/20)
How To Build A Diving Bell, or Tape-Hunting Tips For Quarantined Gormandizers (Aquarium Drunkard, 4/20)
The Never-Ending Couch Tour (Pitchfork, 3/20)
The 21st Century Cosmicomics of Jesse Jacobs (Aquarium Drunkard, 3/20)
Matt LaJoie, Everlasting Spring (Pitchfork, 3/20)
Travel Back In Time to Bill Graham’s Fillmore East (Gothamist, 2/20)
Village Theatre, 1965-1968 (Fillmore East, pre-Bill Graham) (, 2/20)
New Fillmore East/N.F.E. Theatre/Village East/The Saint, 1972-1988 (Fillmore East, post-Bill Graham, 2/20)
Psychedelic Futures (Aquarium Drunkard, 1/20)
The Resurrection of the Pedal Steel Guitar (NPR Music, 1/20)
#deadfreaksunite 1969 (, 1/20)
#deadfreaksunite 1979 (, 1/20)
Best of 2019, new music & more (Google Doc, 12/19)
Eight More Nights: A Recap Of Yo La Tengo’s 2019 Hanukkah Shows (Gothamist, 12/19)
Like A Road Leading Home: The Elusive Sarah Fulcher and the Less Elusive Jerry Garcia (Aquarium Drunkard, 12/19)
Owsley Stanley’s ‘Sonic Journals’: Inside the Tape Vault of a Psychedelic Legend ( 12/19)
San Francisco Radical Laboratory and the Mysterious Moogist of Altamont, on Doug McKechnie (Aquarium Drunkard, 12/19)
After Midnight: Phish’s Big Cypress Festival (podcast, written & narrated for Osiris, 11/19-12/19)
News From the Silk Trombone: Delving into the Deadhead Tour Zine MIKEL (Aquarium Drunkard, 10/19)
The Lions That Sleep: How a Piece of South African Improvisation Went Global (Culture Sonar, 10/19)
The Pagan Mechanic Rides Again: Neil Young’s Adventures on the High-Res Frontier (Wired, 10/19)
The Future in Sam Cohen’s Ears (Relix, 10/19)
Story of the Ghosts, an oral history Trey Anastasio’s Ghosts of the Forest: Part One, Two, Three, Four (Relix, 10/19)
A Guide to African Country Music (Bandcamp Daily, 9/19)
Gem Spa Rally Turns Beloved East Village Institution Into Mock “Schitibank” (Gothamist, 9/19)
Bob Dylan, Totally Normal Buddy, on Louie Kemp’s Dylan & Me memoir (Aquarium Drunkard, 9/19)
How To Weird Your Mind, on new psychedelic books by Erik Davis, Mike Jay, Brian Blomerth, and Simeon Wade (Aquarium Drunkard, 8/19)
Woodstock 250 (, 8/19)
Why Rolling Thunder Revue is a Terrible Documentary But A Great Bob Dylan Film (Aquarium Drunkard, 6/19)
Jake Xerxes Fussell, Out of Sight (Pitchfork 6/19)
Can Instagram & Colorful New Egg Cream Flavors Keep Gem Spa Afloat? (Gothamist, 5/19)
From the Eagle Mall to Terrapin Station: A Skeleton Key to Robert Hunter (Aquarium Drunkard, 4/19)
Chris Forsyth, All Time Present (Pitchfork, 4/19)
Beyond Vaporwave: How Memes Became the Folk Music of the New Weird Internet (Perfect Sound Forever, 3/19)
Jerry Garcia Band: Electric on the Eel (Pitchfork, 3/19)
The Great Lost Dead Archive, a visit with Dan Healy & his t-shirt collection (GQ Style, 3/19)
Neil Young, Dead Man Original Soundtrack (Pitchfork, 3/19)
Dave Harrington Group, Pure Imagination, No Country (Pitchfork, 1/19)
Jeff Tweedy: Normal American Kid (Relix, 1/19)
Ryley Walker: Busted Stuff That Has Been Sung (Relix, 12/18)