Jojo's Mardi Gras Band, a funky side project of Widespread Panic keyboardist John "Jojo" Hermann, plays Thursday at the Old Town Pub. The band focuses on New Orleans party music from artists such as New Orleans R&B legend Professor Longhair.

Courtesy photo

Jojo's Mardi Gras Band, a funky side project of Widespread Panic keyboardist John "Jojo" Hermann, plays Thursday at the Old Town Pub. The band focuses on New Orleans party music from artists such as New Orleans R&B legend Professor Longhair.

Widespread Panic keyboardist 'Jojo' Hermann returns to the 'Boat

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Past Event

Jojo's Mardi Gras Band (featuring John Hermann of Widespread Panic)

  • Saturday, March 5, 2011, 3 p.m.
  • Steamboat Ski Area, Mount Werner Road, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / $15 - $20

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Tuesday events

¤ Sunpie's Bistro, 735 Yampa St.: The bar opens at 5 p.m. and will offer cocktails in larger cups at regular prices, along with a special on Jell-O shots ($1 each or $12 for a tray). Costumes are encouraged and guarantee entry. No cover. Call 870-3360.

¤ The Tap House Sports Grill, 729 Lincoln Ave.: Live music starting at 10 p.m. from DJ Also Starring and DJ Selector Calder Don. The bar is running a special on hurricanes for $5 and bourbon shots for $4. No cover. Call 879-2431.

¤ Old Town Pub, 600 Lincoln Ave.: Live music from Jesgrew, featuring Cameron Williams from the Southern rock band Tishamingo, starts at 10 p.m. The bar will have masks, beads and boas on hand, and will serve up traditional Cajun food during dinner. $5 cover at the door. Call 879-2101.

Widespread Panic fans might have heard the legendary jam band from Athens, Ga., play a song called "Red Beans," originally written by Roy "Professor Longhair" Byrd.

Widespread keyboardist John "Jojo" Hermann gives that song as a reference point for what it's like to spend a night partying to one of his side projects, a five-piece group called Jojo's Mardi Gras Band.

"This is like two hours of 'Red Beans,' basically," Hermann said, describing a set that leans mostly on covers of New Orleans party music by Professor Longhair and his beat-heavy R&B contemporaries.

On Thursday, Jojo's Mardi Gras Band comes to the Old Town Pub as part of a six-date tour through Colorado. Hermann - who lives in Nashville, Tenn., and spent about 20 years playing and spending as much time as possible in Oxford, Miss. - said he got into the kind of melting pot party music his Mardi Gras Band plays while he was in high school.

"When I was in junior high school, I knew a little bit and started getting into The Doors and The (Rolling) Stones," Hermann said.

"And then when I was about 17 someone turned me onto a Professor Longhair record, and that changed everything. I just got enamored with his music, and now I just go out there and play some of it."

Hermann recruited bassist Johnny Few and drummer Kevin Mabin from a church band in Nashville, and drew on a local band called The Dynamites to fill out the group's horn and rhythm sections.

Playing the Caribbean and rumba rhythms that characterize New Orleans party music is infectious, Hermann said, and it's always something to look forward to.

"There's nothing better than just going into a club with a good bar and playing this type of music," he said. "It's just what I love to do."

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