Widespread Panic

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About Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic are one of the premier jam bands of the post-Grateful Dead era. Unlike their Northeastern peers in Phish and Blues Traveler, these are Georgia boys whose earthy playing reflects a deep debt to Southern rock. The original quartet formed in 1986 in the college town of Athens and began achieving national recognition in the early ’90s. In addition to garnering a slot on the inaugural H.O.R.D.E. tour (which helped jump-start the decade’s jam-band revival), they dropped a string of studio albums, including 1994’s Ain’t Life Grand and 1999’s Til the Medicine Takes, that balance improvisation with nimble songwriting. The loss of founding guitarist Michael Houser to cancer in 2002 would have spelled doom for most outfits. But Widespread Panic—buoyed by the intense loyalty of their fanbase—brought in a succession of players who helped open up their sound to new ideas: fusion, New Orleans R&B, funk, even gritty hard rock. This is particularly evident on their deep well of live recordings (a staple for jam bands), where the group reinvent themselves just about any night they take the stage.

HOMETOWN
Athens, GA, United States of America
FORMED
1986