Panic Plans Tour, Posthumous Houser Album
Athens, Ga.-based jam band Widespread Panic has confirmed a short Southeastern U.S. tour that will open with a trio of shows at New Orleans' UNO Lakefront Arena. The 13-date run kick off on HalloweenAthens, Ga.-based jam band Widespread Panic has confirmed a short Southeastern U.S. tour that will open with a trio of shows at New Orleans' UNO Lakefront Arena. The 13-date run kick off on Halloween and wrap with a pair of gigs Nov. 15-16 at the Mid South Coliseum in Memphis, Tenn.
The trek will be the first launched by the band since the death last month of founding guitarist Michael Houser. A pair of longtime friends -- guitarist George McConnell (Beanland) and saxophonist Randall Bramblett (Traffic, Steve Winwood) -- will join the band, as they did on Panic's recently completed summer tour.
Prior to tour, two band-related releases will be made available to fans. The first is "Door Harp," a solo album by Houser, due Sept. 24 via Widespread Records/Sanctuary. The second is the Oct. 8 home video release of "The Earth Will Swallow You," a film culled from nearly 500 hours of footage captured on the band's 2000 summer tour.
Recorded in the spring of this year, "Door Harp" finds Houser, who died Aug. 10 of complications related to pancreatic cancer, playing guitar, mandolin, and piano. He's joined on his compositions by Panic's Domingo Ortiz (percussion), producer/sideman John Keane (pedal steel, keyboards, guitar), Wayne Postell (trumpet), Andy Carlson (violin), and David Henry (cello).
"These songs are the ones I've played on my own, at home, for years. They are simple and calming," Hauser said before his death. "I wanted to record these songs in a minimalist and 'quiet' way that was true to their nature."
"The Earth Will Swallow You," meanwhile, made its big screen debut earlier this summer, and will be released on DVD and VHS via Sweetwater Productions. Shot by filmmakers Christopher and Geoffrey Hanson ("Scrapple"), the production features footage of the band onstage throughout its 2000 summer tour, as well as collaborating with the likes of Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), Taj Mahal, Vic Chesnutt, Jerry Joseph, and Bloodkin's Danny Hutchins and Eric Carter.
More information, including clips of the film, a photo gallery, and a list of scheduled public screenings through September, can be found on the film's official Web site.
As previously reported, Widespread Panic leads the field of Jammy Awards nominees with five, including mentions in the live performance and live album of the year categories. The honors will be handed out Oct. 2 at New York's Roseland Ballroom.
Here are Widespread Panic's fall tour dates:
Oct. 31-Nov. 2: New Orleans (UNO Lakefront Arena)
Nov. 3: Columbus, Ga. (Columbus Civic Center)
Nov. 5: Macon, Ga. (Macon Centreplex)
Nov. 6: Winston-Salem, N.C. (Lawrence Joel Coliseum)
Nov. 8-9: Huntsville, Ala. (Von Braun Center)
Nov. 10: Charleston, S.C. (North Charleston Coliseum)
Nov. 12: Greenville, S.C. (Bi-Lo Center)
Nov. 13: Knoxville, Tenn. (Civic Coliseum)
Nov. 15-16: Memphis, Tenn. (Mid South Coliseum)