Widespread Panic has made Memphis a regular tour stop since the band got together. According to the Panic resource “Everyday Companion Online,” their first official show in the Bluff City was in April, 1989. Since then, they’ve seen local crowds swell from a couple of hundred to thousands. After 30-plus years of touring, WSP recently made a conscious decision to cut back their schedule, to “pass the baton” to a younger collection of musicians looking to expand their careers.
WSP returns to Memphis to headline Mempho Music Fest on October 1 and 2, and will hit the road for several multi-night residencies after that. Slideandbanjo.com’s Marty Halpern caught up with Panic percussionist Domingo “Sunny“ Ortiz to discuss the band’s past, present, and future.
For musicians, the Covid-19 pandemic led to numerous artistic endeavors that would not have seen the light of day. From EPs to artwork, musicians had the time to finish projects that had been on the back burner. None of those projects compare in depth and quality to what Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (JFJO) founding member Reed Mathis created.
Prior to the covid outbreak, there wasn’t a band more certain to explode in popularity than Grateful Shred. Founded on a whim in 2016, the rotating crew of California crooners found a niche with their take on the early 70’s era Grateful Dead sound.
Leftover Salmon has been creating music for over a generation., and their accomplishments have let them travel the world, playing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans. Never one to phone it in, the band has released “Brand New Good Old Days,” an impressive collection of songs that sets the current course the band is heading.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead finished the second half of its “Go to Haven” concert series at New Haven, Connecticut’s Westville Music Bowl with three more dominating performances. While the shows in May were rain-filled, the sun this time around made everyone in attendance joyous as they walked onto the former tennis courts.
Nearly 500 days since they last played in front of fans, Joe Russo’s AlmostDead kicked off their post-pandemic 2021 touring schedule with three rainy sold out shows at a tennis center now known as the Westville Music Bowl.
Danny Kiranos’s path from beer brewer to musician is one that has never existed, nor will ever be replicated. The cerebral Kiranos revels in the thought of being a walking oxymoron. One look at the large, scruffy, fully tattooed musician paints the opposite picture of what you would visualize a folky, banjo player to look like. From lyrics like “I hope your husband dies” to a song told from the point of view of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, nothing about Kiranos follows your standard playbook.
“Four years ago, this band was playing a night at the Brooklyn Bowl and I rolled into soundcheck and Joe (Russo) said ‘We’re having a special guest sit in with us tonight… A violinist.’ That night she made an impression on everyone there. She made an impression on all of us,” says Scott Metzger.
“But she made an impression on me that frankly I’m still recovering from. I feel like the luckiest dude in the world. Four years later, last week, I asked Katie Jacoby to marry me, and she said yes.”
In the movie world, any actor can be matched with Kevin Bacon in six “degrees” or less. In the jam band and indy music scene, it usually won’t take more than three “degrees” before you bump into bassist, producer, engineer, mixer, etc. Dan Horne.
Multi-instrumentalist and shaman to the California music scene Farmer Dave Scher has released a four-song EP titled “Speak of Love,” his first solo release since 2009’s “Flash Forward to the Good Times.” While Farmer Dave is legendary both musically and artistically, his main output has been as part of bands such as Beachwood Sparks, The Skiffle Players, and Kurt Vile and the Violators. This offering affords Farmer Dave the luxury of an unfiltered platform to get his message out.