Everybody loves surprises, that feeling of not knowing what might be around the next corner -- and that’s exactly the vibe that Widespread Panic gives off every time they unleash a new album. Sometimes that means taking listeners on a nice, smooth ride, and sometimes it means making ‘em hold on tight, but either way, it means the trip is gonna be worth it.
Yonder Mountain String Band has always played music by its own set of rules. Bending bluegrass, rock and countless other influences that the band cites, Yonder has pioneered a sound of their own. With their traditional lineup of instruments, the band may look like a traditional bluegrass band at first glance but they’ve created their own music that transcends any genre. Dave Johnston points out “What could be more pure than making your own music.”
"What a long, strange trip it's been" is a lyric from one of the Grateful Dead's best known songs and pretty much tells a bunch about the long history of this band. The earliest traces of the band began in 1960 when band founder and leader Jerry Garcia met Robert Hunter who would become the band's main lyrics man. The Dead evolved in 1964 from Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions which featured Garcia on banjo and guitar along with guitarist Bob Weir and keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan.
Bob Weir already has a secure place in rock history as the Grateful Dead's co-vocalist and what Andrew Clarke (in one of England's leading newspapers, "The Independent") called the genre's "greatest, if most eccentric rhythm guitarist." When you have a modest, anti-promotional personality - and when you spend 30 years next to an icon - it's easy to fall under the radar.
Furthur is a rock band founded in 2009 by former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. The band's lineup also includes John Kadlecik of the Dark Star Orchestra on guitar, Jeff Chimenti of RatDog on keyboards, and Joe Russo of the Benevento/Russo Duo on drums. Jay Lane left Furthur after the March 12, 2010 show to rejoin American funk metal/rock band, Primus.
With a fan base that almost parallels the Grateful Dead's following in size and fervor, and a penchant for extended jams and spacey segues, comparisons between Phish and that legendary group are as pervasive as buckshot 10 yards out of the barrel. But like buckshot, these comparisons spread too thin, too quickly and often fall short of their mark. Phish is its own animal.