Amazing jam band albums can sweep you up in a melody, shoot you out into space, and reel you right back down to reality — the perfect aural accompaniment to a joint-, bowl-, or vape-load of your favorite strain. Live versions of songs and albums are, of course, our preference, but here are seven starter picks for must-listen jam band albums (live and studio).
Cornell 5/8/77 by The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead are the OG jam band, and this release is just one in a long line of amazing live sets. How can you not love a 16-minute-long version of “Dancing in the Streets”?
Space Wrangler by Widespread Panic
Another in the jam band pantheon, Widespread Panic injected southern soul into the genre. Space Wrangler and the track “Driving Song” became instant fan favorites. Give it a spin and find out why.
Nashville Sessions by Leftover Salmon
Bluegrass and jam music go together like peanut butter and jelly. Leftover Salmon mastered this particular brand of mashup, delivering a live record that is equal parts knee slapper and sky gazer.
Big Boat by Phish
Outside of The Grateful Dead, Phish may just be the most well-known jam band on the planet. We may catch some flak for including a studio album — Big Boat — over a record of live cuts, but the studio version of “Blaze On” is 4:20. Come on. That’s a no-brainer.
Warts and All, Volume 1 by moe.
The live version of “Nebraska” on this album is like a mental trip to Cornhusker State on a beautiful sunny day. Close your eyes and you can see the sun shining through the fields. “Nebraska’s so flat that I don’t care” indeed.
Otherwise Law-Abiding Citizens, by The Disco Biscuits
“Portal to an Empty Head” is basically a summary of a really crazy trip. It doesn’t get any jammier than that.
Sweet Oblivious Antidote, by Perpetual Groove
Perpetual Groove lives up to their name on this album. Catching you in a mellow groove and not letting go — barrel rolling through movement after movement and teasing your ears the entire way.