Whiskey & Vinyl: Old Grand-Dad Bonded and The Band’s ‘Music From Big Pink’

Jim Casey03/20/23
Old Grand-Dad Bonded and The Band's Music From Big Pink

(photos by Brandon Chesbro: Outsider)

For this week’s Whiskey & Vinyl, we’re taking a load off with a pour of Old Grand-Dad Bonded and a spin of The Band’s debut album, Music From Big Pink.

Stick around for the weighty highlights.

Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon Whiskey

Old Grand-Dad’s nose (fun to read aloud) opens with light ethanol and some piney wood. A couple of deeper wafts reveal light cherry and a bit of baked honey sweetness, like delicious Honey Grahams. Rounding out the nose is some definite rye spice, which isn’t surprising, considering the high-rye mashbill. All in all, the nose is rather enjoyable.

On the palate, mild tannins immediately hit the tip of the tongue. It’s both shocking and refreshing, like jumping into a cold pool during summertime. But now that the tongue is immersed, the flavors really start to develope with cinnamon, honey, and citrus—both lemon and orange. Chewing evokes more honey and a hint of Red Vines candy with its subtle cherry and faint licorice.

The medium-long finish caps the enjoyable sip with some earthiness in the forms of leather and raw nuts—or maybe edamame—and more of that Honey Grahams sweetness. Well done, old-timer. Of course, now it’s time to spin.

‘Music From Big Pink’

  • Artist: The Band
  • Year: 1968
  • Members: Robbie Roberston, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, and Levon Helm
  • RIAA: Gold (500,000 units sold)
  • Single: “The Weight”

After turning heads—sometimes to the chagrin of folk purists—as the touring band for Bob Dylan in the mid-’60s, The Band released its debut album, Music From Big Pink, in 1968. The album takes its name from a cabin in Woodstock, New York, where most of the songs were conceptualize (Dylan even painted the album art himself). While the group’s virtuosic musicianship and melding of rock, folk, blues, and soul were positivity received in the late ’60s, over time, the album has come to be regarded as a musical masterpiece (landing at No. 100 on Rolling Stone‘s 2020 list of the Top 500 Greatest Albums).

In addition to three Dylan-penned tracks (“Tears of Rage,” “This Wheel’s on Fire,” and “I Shall Be Released”), Music From Big Pink features, perhaps, The Band’s most beloved tune, the Robertson-penned “The Weight,” a rustic spiritual singalong that caps Side 1 with co-leading vocals from Helm and Danko. And before I flip to Side 2, I always give it an encore “spin.” Of course, Side 2 is just as heavy, including a mournful cover of “Long Black Veil,” funky groover “Chest Fever” with Hudson’s sublime organ work, and the aforementioned “I Shall Be Released” with Manuel’s haunting falsetto.

Total team effort from the Hall of Fame ensemble. Let’s pour another glass of Old Grand-Dad Bonded and spin it again.