"To me, the first thing to keep in mind when stepping in for someone like Dickey Betts, Jerry Garcia, or Michael Houser is to start where they left off. I begin by just listening to the tunes and making bar charts to learn the form. Finally, I go back and shed the chord changes and guitar melodies. Once I've absorbed all that, I can begin to bring in my own voice. The great guitarists I've succeeded, the other band members, and the fans - none of them would want me to just cop what's already been done. There's a fine line between copying someone and tipping to your to them. I stay within the kingdom of what's gone before me, but still try to build on the legacy that's there. Fans of the Dead, the Allmans, and Widespread come back to the shows year after year because they expect to hear the music evolve."
GP, July 2008, pg. 108
Well put. P.S. Jazz is Dead: gotta love it!