As the keyboard player for the tremendously popular band Widespread Panic, Jojo Hermann may call Atlanta, Georgia home, but it's in Mississippi - where he once played coffeehouses and clubs with his old band Beanland -- that he considers his true roots to lie. And in the last few years, whenever he's had the chance, Hermann has stepped out from behind the keyboards, picked up a guitar, and headed back to Oxford, Mississippi -- back to the familiarity of his old stomping grounds and his old friends - to strum some "cowboy chords" and have some good old musical fun. Hermann has lived in and around Oxford, Mississippi since 1987. He toured the South extensively with Beanland until 1992, when he went to Athens, Georgia to play with Widespread Panic.
In October 2000, Hermann got serious about these side-trips, and holed up with longtime pals Luther and Cody Dickinson (DDT, The North Mississippi All-Stars) and Paul "Crumpy" Edwards (Bloodkin) in Water Valley's Money Shot Studio where they recorded the album The Smiling Assassin for Fat Possum Records. A little more than two years later, Hermann returns with the follow-up entitled Defector. Many of the elements are the same: Jojo once again plays not only piano, but also guitar, Edwards is back on bass and Luther & Cody Dickinson once again handle additional guitar and drums.
Making it an even more North Mississippi hootenanny, Kenny Brown and Cedric Burnside form the R.L. Burnside band sit in on the album. Kenny Brown and Cedric Burnside had been spending a lot of time at the Money Shot as well, recording Kenny Brown's Fat Possum debut, Stingray. Just about the only thing that would make the whole thing come together perfectly would be if they went out on tour together.
Smiling Assassins on JamBase | http://www.jambase.com/search.asp?bandID=9804
Smiling Assassins official Site | http://www.fatpossum.com/hermann.html
Interview with John Herman | http://www.jambase.com/headsup.asp?storyID=2070
Dee their is a new photo and the new album art in poon/photos/smilingassasins. I also included a photo of JOJO and Cody for kicks...AW