What do you get when you take a batch of incredible songs, five veteran players who have never played together, with an arsenal of five musical minds working in unison to reinvent them? You get Hard Working Americans. Hard Working Americans is the self-titled debut from this new musicians’ collective, scheduled for a January 21 release on Melvin Records/Thirty Tigers. Genres meld seamlessly with the birth of this group, featuring artists from the Americana, singer/songwriter, experimental, jam and rock communities.
On a last minute whim, my friend and I decided it had been far too long since we had seen our homegrown boys, Widespread Panic. With a passion for the exhilaration of live shows and the surprises a band like Panic brings, once the thought entered our minds, we knew we couldn't fight it. So, we gathered a few others and set out towards Pelham, Ala.We drove quickly, but it was inevitable that we would not make it on time.
Southern Rockers Widespread Panic have come a long way since their humble beginnings in Athens, George in 1986. Well, actually, the sextet is still humble. Steering clear of mainstream record labels, never overselling themselves to anyone but their loyal fans, playing discrete destination festivals, while keeping a cool and accessible demeanor; by basically being themselves.
We have all been to shows in which our objectivity towards the music is undermined by a more powerful force. Something happens apart from the stage that distorts, and often intensifies, the true sonic nature of each set. These are the shows that lay futility at the feet of those who try to listen to a recording later on to recapture the magic. This happened to me for the first time in October ‘99 when I saw Phish at Illinois State. I was smitten with a girl who would, very soon after, become my first love.
So, Widespread Panic played a show at Red Rocks on Saturday night. Honestly, for those of you who have seen them in that setting before, that’s about as good of a review as you need. All it would take is one glance at the set list, particularly from the second set on, to know that it was a spectacular evening.
The venerable Widespread Panic has announced the May 28 release of the 3-disc set Oak Mountain 2001 Night 1, their 8th multi-track release from the Widespread Panic Archives Series.