As most of you know, I'm not as into the jam scene as alot of you Roosters, but am always willing to learn. I've been enjoying the WP songs I've heard on our local station over the past couple years and am wondering where to go first?! The clerk at the local liquor store (we've clicked with a similar appreciation for music) is a FANATIC with Widespread and is burning me a couple soundboard boots he has. He claims that the studio album I should pick up is Everyday. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
I fell completely in love with Widespread's recorded stuff around 94-95. I wore out Everyday, Space Wrangler and Ain't Life Grand, as well as the first one (don't remember the name at the moment, self titled?) to a lesser extent. At that time, I thought they were easily the best "jam band" in the studio. Lead singer John Bell really felt like a kindred spirit to me at that time and I think there is some great work on all of those albums. I would agree with Everyday as my #1 recommendation, with Space Wrangler close behind and Ain't Life Grand holding a special place in my heart. Everything after that I still enjoyed but never listened to as much (although "Climb to Safety" is my favorite song). I think it had more to do with my changing tastes than the quality of the music. At some point they just fell off of my "must buy everything they release" list.
I saw them once in Florida around '96 or '97. For some reason it took a few songs for me to warm up to it and then I was absolutely entranced. I really dug into their sound and realized how unique what they do is. Hauser (RIP) was absolutely incredible and it seemed like the whole set was one big concerto to him more then a collection of seperate songs. A lot of what Hauser and the drummer do can sound a bit repetitive in my opinion, but I know from experience that there really is something deeper to it and that's just how they do what they do. Somehow I never got around to seeing them again until Bonnaroo. I've never really been able to dig into any of their Bonnaroo sets like I did that first show I saw. In 2002 you could tell Hauser wasn't 100% and in 2003 he was sorely missed. They just don't kick me into overdrive these days, all though its probably my fault and my loss more than anything else. I still love those guys.
Anyways, sorry for the ramble; you should definitely check out Everyday and go from there. Although all "jam bands" have their own angle on things, I think that Widespread in particular has things going on which that label doesn't cover.