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.
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.
In the summer of 1993 I went to a sleepaway camp in Starlight, Pennsylvania. I was a 15-year-old from Charleston, South Carolina, and a few of my cabin mates were from Canada. We did all of your typical summer camp things, and playing music loud was obviously one of them. Over the several weeks we spent together I fell in love with a band my Canadian bunkmates introduced me to – The Tragically Hip, a massively popular rock band north of the border that I’d never heard of. To this day, they’re still one of my favorites, and recently released a ”new” album, “Saskadelphia.”
How do you tell the story of an Alien? How do you tell the story of someone who was so mysterious, yet at the same time so open and honest? Someone who seemed instantly connected to everyone he knew, who seemed to know the secrets of the universe. If you are writer Jerry Grillo, you do it one word at a time, in his new book, The Music and Mythocracy of Col. Bruce Hampton: A Basically True Biography.
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.
Seth Walker is a musician by trade, and a good one at that. The traveling troubadour has spent the last couple of decades traversing the world, playing gigs of all sizes, shapes and forms. Thanks to the covid pandemic, Walker’s plans for 2020 took a considerable detour.
Fortunately, the change of plans allowed Walker the opportunity to chase a new muse. He used his unexpected free time to write “Your Van is on Fire: the Miscellaneous Meanderings of a Musician,” a compilation of essays, poems, and artwork covering everything from being raised on a North Carolina commune to barely making it through a gig on a ship in the middle of a raging North Sea.
“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.
I spent my 43rd birthday at a Jason Isbell concert, which – on its face – isn’t noteworthy. After all, I’ve spent plenty of birthdays, New Years Eves, and anniversaries at concerts. But those were when the world was normal. In 2020, we’re all in the middle of public health scare that has decimated the live entertainment world.