Last week, southern rock jamband Widespread Panic released their 12th studio album, Street Dogs, via Vanguard Records. It was recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, North Carolina, and produced by John Keane. Remarkably, this release marks the first time in the band's 30 year career that they recorded an album live in the studio together as a group.
The LP features seven original songs and three covers (Alan Price's "Sell Sell," Murray McLauchlan's "Honky Red," and Willie Dixon's "Tail Dragger" that was made famous by Howlin' Wolf). The album clocks in at just under 60 minutes, and is full of Widespread's signature stew of music styles ranging from heavy bluesy rock to latin jazz and funk.
"Sell Sell" is a strong opening track that proves the band has plenty of gas left in the tank. A jam heavy "Cease Fire" has a Carlos Santana feel to it, and leads into an atmospheric "Jamais Vu (The World Has Changed)," which allows the listener to sit back and soak in the sounds.
"Angels Don't Sing The Blues," another latin-influenced track, is ripe with piano, keyboards, and percussion. "Honky Red" has a gritty, no joke attitude about it with brewing guitar riffs and screaming fills. Piano rolls, a strong bass, wah-wah effects, and witty guitar fills make up the joyous "The Poorhouse Of Positive Thinking," which features JoJo on vocals.
If upbeat southern rock is what you crave, then look to "Welcome To My World," where John Bell's vocals combine with distortion drenched guitar riffs and barroom piano playing. A bluesy version of Howlin Wolf's "Tail Dragger" finds Bell digging into his best Wolf-like impersonation, and is accompanied by vintage sounding organ fills.
Street Dogs is the first studio album Widespread Panic have released since 2010's Dirty Side Down. It's a strong release that sees the band flexing their music muscles by dabbing in various music styles, and sounding great doing so.
Tracks we recommend include "Sell Sell," "Cease Fire," "Angels Don't Sing The Blues," "Honky Red," "Welcome To My World," and "Tail Dragger."
In related news, Widespread Panic recently announced a three night New Years Eve run for 2015 at the Georgia Theatre in Atlanta, Ga. For more information about that, as well as their latest music and news, check out their Zumic artist page.