I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome

Originally Performed ByBill Monroe
Music/LyricsBill Monroe
Phish Debut1994-11-16
Last Played2000-06-22
Current Gap685
Recommended Versions1995-09-30, 1995-11-29, 1999-07-18, 2000-06-22
HistorianChristian McKee


Along with its frequent companion, “My Long Journey Home,” “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome” made its debut on 11/16/94, when the Reverend Jeff Mosier joined Phish for a week of shows featuring acoustic bluegrass selections. For these tunes, Phish would transform themselves into a traditional bluegrass band: Jon on mandolin, Page on upright bass, Mike on banjo and Trey on guitar. Like “My Long Journey Home,” “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome” is a part of the bluegrass canon, being a composition of none other than Bill Monroe, the father of the genre.

Phish has played a few noteworthy versions of this song. On 9/30/95, the band dedicated it to Jerry Garcia. Both the timing and location had significance: Garcia had died just over a month before; Shoreline was a favorite of the Dead, remains a favorite of Phish, and was also the last place that all the members of Phish saw the Dead live. Musical highlights surrounding “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome” have been mostly due to guest artists, as on 11/29/95 (with Béla Fleck), 7/18/99 at the Oswego festival with the Del McCoury Band, and 6/22/00 including among others DelRonnie and Robbie McCoury. Though "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome has not appeared on the Phish stage since, Trey dusted off the song during a visit to the Ryman Auditorium on 2/25/10, with the Del McCoury Band once again joining in.

"I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome" 11/16/94 Ann Arbor, MI (Backstage Rehearsal)

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