By: Louie Wieseman
Widespread Panic first formed in 1986 in Athens, GA with a very natural and slow upbringing. They went from first starting out in bars and fraternity parties (which were a popular venue for jam bands it seems back in the 80s) to getting a record, to getting the coveted following. WSP has grown from a small hometown band to another one of the great jam bands.
On September 25th, 2015 Widespread Panic released their twelfth studio Street Dogs. It continues their trend of combining southern rock and the blues with an element of some psychedelic stylings. What I noticed on this album was their heavy Santana influence. It seemed to still have the bluesy southern rock but some tracks had a latin rock feel and other latin-esque grooves. “Cease Fire” was one example of this. If it wasn’t the Latin rock it was more psychedelic jamming that WSP is known for like in “Jamais Vu (The World Has Changed).”
The rest of the album is definitely a very heavy southern feel, which does make sense due to the southern upbringing down in Georgia. Lots of tracks just had a nice beat you rock with like in “Sell Sell”, “Steven’s Cat”, or “Tail Dragger.” They are all have some very nice, and thick beats to have you bobbing your head back and forth.
The biggest thing about Widespread Panic is not their studio albums, but their live shows. Almost EVERYONE you meet is a fan of some jam band whether it be Widespread Panic, Grateful Dead, Phish, moe., etc., and they will say you have to go to a live show to understand the music more and to hear much better versions. It’s definitely a true statement from my perspective. I’ve seen some smaller bands with this styling of music before and I can guarantee that if someone likes this album and would want to go see them live, they would have a great time.