JoJo Hermann delivered a tribute to his late bandmate Michael Houser with the debut of a new song featuring some of Mikey’s lyrics, “Love and Joy”. The Widespread Panic keyboardist offered up the tune during a solo show at Nashville’s City Winery on Thursday.
“We never had to finish it, but I thought back and I was like ‘Well, maybe I should go ahead and conjure up Mikey’s spirit,'” Hermann said of his decision to complete the song that went unfinished when the founding WSP guitarist died of cancer in 2002.
Introducing “Love and Joy”, Hermann spoke of Houser’s songwriting style. Penning simple strong structures with just a few chords, Houser highlighted the mundane aspects of everyday life, with this new song just describing another day around the house. After opening with a piano riff reminiscent of “Tall Boy”, Hermann sets the scene, “Eyes out the window / Facing the breeze / Got your head in the clouds / Cats fast asleep on the Goodwill couch / The dogs running wild in the yard / Just another day.”
Hermann also revealed that he played “Love and Joy” for the rest of Widespread Panic and it earned their seal of approval. Thursday’s concert as part of JoJo’s brief Southeast solo tour marked the first time Hermann had played since recording it with the rest of the band. Though the band has not yet officially announced a new album, bassist Dave Schools did confirm in a recent interview that the group recently wrapped a ten-day recording session.
Hermann added on Thursday, “I guess we’ll be playing it pretty soon.” The band already debuted three new songs this year on the road, “King Baby“, “Little By Little“, and “We Walk Each Other Home“, and it sounds like there’s more on the way.
Watch JoJo Hermann debut the new Widespread Panic song with partial lyrics by Mikey Houser “Love and Joy”. JoJo’s solo tour wraps tonight, September 2nd, at Asheville, NC’s The Grey Eagle. The band is in Wilmington, NC on September 15th and 16th for a two-night stand at Live Oak Bank Pavilion. Find tickets and a full list of tour dates here.
JoJo Hermann – “Love And Joy” – 8/31/23
[Video: Michael Wilker]