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'Til the Medicine Takes

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Performer Notes
  • Widespread Panic: John Bell, Michael Houser (vocals, guitar); John Herrmann (vocals, keyboards); Todd Nance (vocals, drums); David Schools (bass); Domingo S. Ortiz (percussion).
  • Additional personnel: John Keane (pedal steel guitar, banjo, keyboards); dave Henry, Ned Henry (strings); Josh Hauser (trombone); Colin Butler (DJ); Anne Richmond Boston, Dottie Peoples (background vocals).
  • Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Efrem Towns, Kevin Harris, Roger Lewis, Julius McKee, Gregory Davis, Corey Henry (horns).
  • Engineers include: Bradshaw Leigh, John Keane, David Henry.
  • Recorded at John Keane Studios, Athens, Georgia; Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans, Louisiana; True Tone Recording, Nashville, Tennessee.
  • As part of the close-knit jam-band community that counts Phish and Blues Traveler among its better-known constituents, Widespread Panic spent many years developing a loyal audience by touring. For its seventh album, the Athens sextet has crafted 12 tracks that mostly hover around the five-minute mark and are more about focused songcraft than endless vamping. That's not to say that the Panic has put its virtuosity on the backburner and is spitting out choppy ditties of Ramones-like length. Instead, it's focused its energies on tight arrangements that display its musical range. Songs like the zen country "The Waker" feature distinct banjo plucking and ethereal riffing while "Dyin' Man" uses a funky clavinet and scratching turntables to modernize its Allman Brothers sound. Throughout, John Bell's engaging vocal style bounces between a laconic Lowell George delivery (a rollicking "One Arm Steve"), a Steve Forbert rasp (the Dixieland "Christmas Katie"), and the pinched nasality of Blind Melon's Shannon Hoon (the percussive groove of "Surprise Valley"). Among the highlights are the sanctified stomp of "All Time Low," featuring gospel legend Dottie Peoples, and the back porch country-blues narrative "Nobody's Loss."
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (9/2/99, p.112) - 3 stars (out of 5) - "...when the band uses its easygoing grooves not as ends in themselves but as ways to energize its blunt melodies, you get the sense that Widespread Panic are really going somewhere."

Spin (9/99, pp.188,192) - 6 out of 10 - "...a progressive, thinking-feller's Allmans....Widespread Panic could well be the creative turncoats among the Southern rebels after all."
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