During the early ’90s, Widespread Panic emerged among successors to the Grateful Dead dynasty. Since then, the Athens-based collective has established an impressive reputation of constant touring, luminous improvisation, and state-of-the-art rock ‘n’ roll. Their reputation as a prominent figure in the neo-hippie jam band circuit didn’t take long to develop, as their brand of free-form jazz and blues intertwined with Southern Rock quickly captivated audiences across the nation.
Tonight marks the band’s third appearance on the Austin City Limits television show. Since their last appearance as part of Season 31 in 2006, Widespread Panic has released several critically-acclaimed CDs. 2008’s Free Somehow, marks an innovative shift for the band with “added force of new textures—strings, bells, horn sections, gospel choirs”, all of which “frees the band from the constraints of its musical legacy, while also revisiting what made Panic great to begin with” (Paste). Their 11th studio release, 2010’s Dirty Side Down, showcases all Widespread’s musical strengths for “the band’s finest studio offering in over a decade” (All Music Guide). “This is an accomplished work from a group that understands itself completely, deftly straddling the line between instinct and craft,” wrote Billboard.
“We’ve always considered the camaraderie of the band to be as important as anything else, more important, actually,” said drummer Todd Nance. “It really is like a family and I think that comes through in the music. I hope so.”
EPISODE LISTWidespread Panic (Season 37)
- Encore: Widespread Panic
- ACL Season 37: Widespread Panic Takes the ACL Stage in Energetic Performance