Vilar Center at Beaver Creek presents 2 evenings with JoJo Hermann and Jerry Joseph this weekend
Friday, Saturday performances sure to be a “New Orleans good time”
JoJo Hermann and Jerry Joseph are probably best known for their involvement with Widespread Panic, but their rich musicianship extends far beyond the jam.
Hermann’s New Orleans’ piano boogie-woogie songwriting style stems from some of the most legendary New Orleans players — specifically Professor Longhair and Dr. John. In addition to playing keys for Widespread Panic since 1992, Hermann has made a name for himself with his lead vocals on many New Orleans’ style jazz and blues covers, as well as originals. His side projects include JoJo and His Mojo Mardi Gras Band and a group that includes Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars.
“JoJo is so adept at these musical styles,” Joseph said. “He’s as good as a second line New Orleans piano player as anybody. … He’s got a pretty impressive musical history, and he’s tapped into the Mississippi stuff that I care about.”
Joseph gathered a solid following with a band called The Jackmormons, then expanded his circle of fans when Widespread Panic began recording many of his songs. While a variety of genres show up in his songwriting, one element remains the same: his quest for truth telling.
“Jerry is such an inspiration,” Hermann said. “He’s so honest. He just tells it like it is.”
Joseph’s new album, “The Beautiful Madness,” explores the darker side of the human condition. It looks at the toll politics take on a society, relationship dynamics that are often avoided and truths about ourselves we might not otherwise consider.
“When I look in the mirror, I don’t see rainbows and unicorns,” Joseph said. “I try to be honest when I write. There’s a charm to me about places in the world where both things happen at the same time — there’s enlightenment (and darkness). I like happy music, but for me, it tends to be the spiritual stuff.”
In his quest to make a difference, Joseph started Nomad Music Foundation, a nonprofit that teaches displaced teens in Afghanistan, Sulaymaniyah, Dahuk, Kurdish Iraq and Kabul to play guitar and sing.
“I don’t always buy ‘the power of music,’ but I see the power of music there,” he said. “When they sing — their voices — I think that’s what God sounds like.”
With Hermann and Joseph’s diverse talents, their two-day residency at the Vilar Center promises to be a trip.
“I don’t know what to expect. We’re definitely going to do some stuff off the cuff,” Hermann said. “We’ll just get up there and wing it, but it’s gonna be fun (and include) a lot of songs that people are going to know from the years. We’ll have a New Orleans good time.”
What: An Evening with JoJo Hermann and Jerry Joseph
When: 5 and 8 p.m. Friday; 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, with one livestream at 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Cost: $95 general admission
More information: Visit http://www.vilarpac.org