Widespread Panic

Free Somehow (Widespread)

Phases & Stages

Widespread Panic

Free Somehow (Widespread)

Widespread Panic is still best consumed live, where the band's songs can evolve into musical magic. Free Somehow, the Georgia sextet's 10th studio work, once again proves that axiom true. It's certainly their most adventuresome, but overdone production touches from Terry Manning (ZZ Top, Al Green), who brings horns and an orchestra into the mix, blur some material. This may have something to do with most tracks not being road-tested onstage before being recorded. Of the 11 Free tracks, feisty opener "Boom Boom Boom," the cinematic "Her Dance Needs No Body," and Southern soul-fest "Up All Night" seem the most likely to excite in concert. Free Somehow is also the studio debut for near-legendary new guitarist Jimmy Herring, who unfortunately gets little space to shine. That sums up this effort: a lot of promise but a muddled result.

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