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Ain't Life Grand

Album: Ain't Life Grand
# Song Title   Time
1)    Little Kin
2)    Ain't Life Grand
3)    Airplane
4)    Can't Get High
5)    Heroes
6)    Raise the Roof
7)    Junior
8)    L.A.
9)    Blackout Blues
10)    Jack
11)    Fishwater
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Widespread Panic: John Bell (vocals, guitar, mandolin); Michael Houser (guitar, vocals); John Hermann (keyboards, vocals); David Schools (bass, vocals); Todd Nance (drums); Domingo S. Ortiz (percussion, vocals).
  • Additional personnel: Eric Carter, Adrienne Fishe, Ronnie Gizmo (vocals); John Keane (guitar, vocals, pedal steel guitar); David Blackmon (fiddle); Dwight Manning (oboe).
  • Recorded at Keane Recording, Athens, Georgia. Includes liner notes by Col. Bruce Hampton.
  • All songs written by Widespread Panic, except "Can't Get High" (Daniel Hutchens/Eric Carter) and "Junior" (Junior Kimbrough).
  • Personnel: John Bell (vocals, guitar, mandolin); John Keane, Michael Houser (vocals, guitar); John Hermann (vocals, keyboards); Domingo Ortiz, S. Dominto Ortiz (vocals, percussion); Eric Isa Carter, Dave Schools, Eric Carter, Adriene Fishe, Eric Carter, Ronnie Gizmo (vocals); David Blackmon (fiddle); Dwight Manning, Dwight Manning (oboe); Todd Nance (drums).
  • Audio Mixers: Clif Norrell; John Keane; Caram Costanzo.
  • Recording information: John Keane's Studio, Athens, GA.
  • Photographer: Jackie Jasper.
  • Unknown Contributor Role: Michael Houser.
  • Like fellow jam band Phish, Widespread Panic released its debut in the late 1980s and gradually built a devoted following before reaching a new level of success in the mid '90s. Although the ensemble never achieved the level of fame that Phish did, AIN'T LIFE GRAND brought the Athens, Georgia-based group a significant amount of attention, thanks in large part to tight, accessible songs that lent themselves to improvisatory expansiveness when needed, but weren't immediately over-indulgent. The lilting title track, the laid-back "Airplane," and the lovelorn "Can't Get High," which became a minor radio hit, are all excellent examples of Panic's restrained spin on the genre. Further belying its jam-band tag, Panic offers up other relatively straightforward tunes here, including the folk-tinged "Raise the Roof" and the searing "Blackout Blues," and manages to bookend the disc with the hard-driving Southern rock of "Little Kin" and "Fishwater." Of course, Widespread Panic does indulge in some instrumental flights of fancy on this outing, revealing that while they've earned their hippie-leaning reputation, the band isn't limited by it.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (12/29/94-1/12/95, p.181) - "...Widespread Panic come closest to capturing some of the Allmans' grandeur--fat organ, fluid guitar, dense percussion--but they summon up, too, a tad of the Grateful Dead's laid-back charm..."
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