Widespread Panic have struggled for a long time to bring the excitement of their live shows onto a studio recording. On their earliest records -- Space Wrangler, their self-titled sophomore album, and Ain't Life Grand -- the band didn't worry about it and the albums were mostly solid and engaging. As WP's live reputation began to spread through the jam band scene, however, that began to change; live records began appearing in streams.
In 2011, Georgia’s Widespread Panic will commemorate 25 years together. Change is inherent to any band that has been together for as long as they have. More often than not, loss is the source that inspires or drives the perceived change. When founding member and guitarist Michael Houser passed away due to pancreatic cancer in 2002, change was inevitable.
If there is a science to being a jam band, a code to break, or equation to solve where the solution yields the sort of accessible riffs and hooks anyone would expect at a summer concert, Widespread Panic cracked it. After nearly 25 years together, Dirty Side Down is the band’s eleventh album, and features a solid mix of blues, jazz, rock and southern grit. Opener “Saint Ex” is a nod to the life and unfortunate yet ironic death of “The Little Prince” writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.