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Widespread Panic: “Airplane” and “Fire on the Mountain”

I don’t know much about Widespread Panic, other than they come from the same school of music — and are associated with — Phish and other bands that use the Grateful Dead blueprint. Like Phish, the band does a lot of covers (including a great version of the Dead’s Fire on the Mountain, below).  All the covers — and that the fact that the band’s website leads off with a nice tribute to JJ Cale — makes it obvious that they get it. Listening to a few tunes makes it clear that they are extremely talented.

Here is a part of AllMusic’s profile:

One of the many neo-hippie jam bands inheriting the road-warrior mantle left behind by the Grateful DeadWidespread Panic established a devout grassroots following on the strength of constant touring and a loose, rootsy brand of Southern rock informed by jazz and blues textures. The group’s origins date to 1982, when vocalist John Bell and guitarist Mike Houser first began playing together while attending college in Athens, Georgia. When bassist Dave Schools left academia to join the duo the next year, Widespread Panic were officially born. The band recorded its debut single, “Coconut Image,” in 1986; drummer Todd Nance joined soon after, followed by the addition of percussionistDomingo “Sunny” Ortiz and finally keyboardist John “JoJo” Hermann.