Editors’ Notes What does a Widespread Panic fan wish for each time the veteran jam band releases a new album? A sustained flash of the sonic alchemy they achieve on stage and Free Somehow (2008) fares well by this standard thanks to Terry Manning’s vivid production and the more integrated presence of recent guitar recruit Jimmy Herring. In the past, the band has released uneven albums with limited appeal beyond Panic’s hardcore faithful. This time, singer/bandleader John Bell digs deeper and draws more blood, particularly with his songwriting. He works well with extremes, leaping with wide-eyed agility from the trashy boogie-strut of “Boom Boom Boom” to the mournful country-rock of the title track. Equally vital is the improved ensemble work captured on roaring work-outs like “Flicker” and “Walk On the Flood,” as well as on more textured excursions like the jazzy “Angels On High” and the disquieting “Dark Day Program.” The band’s extended flights rarely lose altitude here, with the ornately orchestrated “Her Dance Needs No Body” achieving particular brilliance over its eight-plus minutes.