Today we look back to August 2, 2006…

George McConnell Leaves Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic has posted a statement to its website confirming that guitarist George McConnell has departed the band. Entitled, George McConnell, lead guitarist with the rock band Widespread Panic, has moved on to further adventures, it reads as follows:

When co-founding band member Mikey Houser passed away four years ago, McConnell, along with saxophonist Randall Bramblett, joined forces with Widespread Panic, and the band played on.

Longtime friend and producer John Keane has been playing both the pedal steel and electric guitar throughout this recent tour, along with guitarist Sam Holt, founder of the band Outformation- who has been sitting in from time to time. The remainder of Widespread Panics summer tour will proceed at full steam.

Bottom line is there’s still songs to be played, music to make, and that’s whats going to happen, singer/guitarist John Bell added. Well miss George a lot. I’m very grateful to him for lending us his talent and friendship these past four years, and we wish him all the best.

A Pig Flies at Fuji

On July 28 & 29, the String Cheese Incident played two sets during Japans 10th Annual Fuji Rock Festival. On day one, the group revived a gag from its appearance at the 2003 Austin City Limits Festival, flying Pink Floyds famed pig onstage during its set. A few years back, longtime String Cheese Incident manager Mike Luba purchased the 40-foot pig from a former Pink Floyd stagehand and the group has busted it out on special occasions ever since. Falling a bit further away from the when pigs fly category, during its Fuji Rock performance, the String Cheese Incident also brought out Brendan Bayliss, who was in town performing with Umphreys McGee at Fuji, for a cover of Bob Marleys Lively up Yourself.

Enter The Barn

While perhaps not as groundbreaking as, say, when helped Nixon open up the Far East in the 1970s, Phish is opening the doors to its secluded Barn recording space. Along with Sirius Satellite Radio, the group is offering fans a chance to win an all expenses paid trip it its mythical recording space, as well as an autographed copy of its new CD/DVD release, Live In Brooklyn and an unreleased studio track recorded at The Barn before Phish parted ways in 2004. As many readers are no doubt aware, Phish recorded their final three studio albums, Farmhouse, Round Room and Undermind at the Barn and used the century-old building as its primary rehearsal space throughout the late-1990s and early-2000s. A number of other musicians have also recorded at the Barn in recent years, including Addison Groove Project, the Jazz Mandolin Project and Herbie Hancock.