By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – Michael Houser’s music lives on, thanks to his friends and fans.
Houser was the founding guitarist for Widespread Panic, and he died from pancreatic cancer in 2002. Since about 2010, Houser’s guitar tech Sam Holt has hosted concerts called “Remembering Mikey: A Tribute to Michael Houser and Widespread Panic,” in Colorado. This year marks the first time the tribute shows are traveling through the South, and a stop in Tupelo is the first show of the tour next week.
“My experience is that people are there to have fun and have a good time,” Holt said in a phone interview with the Daily Journal. “We’ve always had a really good response.”
The concert will feature Houser originals from his posthumous album “Sandbox,” as well as songs he wrote for Widespread Panic. Holt will also perform songs he’s written that were inspired by Houser.
Holt, who has also played with Widespread Panic, is bringing along Tupelo native Adam Grace of the band Truth & Salvage Co. for the shows. Jeremy Ward and Ross Parker, who performed in the Widespread Panic tribute band Farmer’s Soul, will be in the band, too, as will pedal steel player guitarist Adam Stern.
“(Houser) was a great songwriter and was adored by millions – that’s why we did it, because his music is not well known by many people,” Grace said.
“We want to keep that alive, and make sure someone’s playing his music.”
A lot of Houser’s solo work was never played live, so Holt and his band are having fun introducing that music to fans at the Remembering Mikey shows.
“I think there are two kinds of people that are gonna come to the show. There are people that remember Houser and the era of his influence on Widespread Panic, and I think they’re gonna come to relive those days,” Grace said. “The second is going to be people who like Widespread Panic and love their music, and know they’ll get to hear a lot of their favorite songs.”
A portion of the proceeds go to the Michael Houser Music Fund, too.
“If you’re a Widespread Panic fan, tell your buddies about this,” Grace said.
“It’s gonna be a special event for Tupelo.”
• What: Remembering Mikey: A Tribute to Michael Houser and Widespread Panic, featuring Sam Holt and Adam Grace
• When: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday
• Where: Blue Canoe, Tupelo
• Cost: $5
• Info: rememberingmikey.com