Forever Young

by Lillian Ripley

The concert performed by Jerry Garcia Band at Merriweather Post Pavilion in September 1989 may be one of their greatest live performances of all time. A seamless blend of rock, reggae, R&B and gospel, the show spanned two days and covered songs like Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.” These are the moments, and the songs, that inspire us at McMenamins – and they inspired much of the Cove at Kalama Harbor Lodge.

From artist Lillian Ripley:
This painting is inspired by The Jerry Garcia Band’s cover of “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan. The song was composed when Dylan had his first child and is about what we want for our children. This painting duo features his youngest: Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan. In the first painting she is depicted as a child riding a drum, and in the second, she is an adult holding drum sticks. Desiree is a musician, now primarily known for her singing, but her first call to music was percussion. When she fell for the drums, her father asked his drummer, David Kemper, where he could get his daughter a good drum set. Kemper, who played the cover of this song in the Jerry Garcia Band this painting is based on, still had the Jerry Garcia Band drum set in storage. He gifted the drums to Dylan to give to his daughter. The giant floating hands belong to David Kemper.

Bob Dylan is featured as the moon. Elvis also had a Bob Dylan connection: when Dylan first heard “Hound Dog” on the radio, he decided that that was what he wanted to do (in fact, I wanted to include Elvis because I like the idea that he is “forever young” somewhere in outer space, preserved by his alien friends). This resonated with the line “may you build a ladder to the stars,” which, to me, means rise towards your wishes and dreams. Elvis had a Kalama connection too: a little roadside motel’s (the Columbia River Inn) claim to fame is that he stayed the night in 1962. So I included Elvis on a ladder and the hound dog in a top hat (who Elvis once sang the song to) looking at the moon.

DB Cooper, the infamous plane hijacker whose parachute escape occurred over SW Washington, is being snatched up in the background because it also amuses me to think of him forever young among the aliens too. Jerry Garcia and his bass player, John Kahn, are skeletons. Melvin Seals, Jacklyn LaBranch and Gloria Jones live on, still performing in the spotlight. In this way, the whole band is featured in the diptych.

Forever Young

Lyrics and music by Bob Dylan 
Lyrics as performed by Jerry Garcia Band live at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Sept. 1989: 
May God bless and keep you always 
May your wishes all come true 
May you always do for others 
And let others do for you 
May you build a ladder to the stars 
And climb on every rung 
And may you stay 
Forever young 
May you grow up to be righteous  
May you grow up to be true  
May you always know the truth  
And see the light surrounding you  
May you always be courageous 
Stand upright and be strong 
And may you stay 
Forever young 
May your hands always be steady 
May your feet always be swift 
May you have a strong foundation 
When the winds of changes shift 
May your heart always be joyful  
May your song always be sung 
And may you stay 
Forever young