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Pop / Rock 29/06/2012

John 'Jojo' Hermann & Sherman Ewing Deliver A Powerful Alt/Blues/Rock CD, As Missing Cats Sets First Album 'Larry Brown Amen' For 9/4

John 'Jojo' Hermann & Sherman Ewing Deliver A Powerful Alt/Blues/Rock CD, As Missing Cats Sets First Album 'Larry Brown Amen' For 9/4

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts/ Missing Cats Official Website) John 'Jojo' Hermann and Sherman Ewing Flex Their Songwriting Muscles and Deliver a Powerful Alt/Blues/Rock CD, Years in the Making, as MISSING CATS Sets First Album 'Larry Brown Amen' for September 4th

It's 'New York City meets Mississippi meets Athens, GA meets Nashville', as an Array of Guest Artists Support Jojo and Sherman at Their Recording Sessions: North Mississippi All Stars' Luther and Cody Dickinson, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, Sam Bush, Jon Randall Stewart, Jesse Alexander, Taylor Hicks, Anthony Krizan and more...

U.S. Tour Confirmed
On Missing Cats' confident first album, 'Larry Brown Amen,' John 'Jojo' Hermann and Sherman Ewing flex their songwriting muscles and deliver a dramatic Alt/Blues/Rock collection of original songs. This is a rich CD, conceived by a pair of road warriors & friends who share a decades-long collaborative relationship.

From the Tom Petty/Dylan-esque title track to the stunning vocals and haunting lyrics of the ballad 'Highwire', from the quirky timing and crazy vibe of 'Skydiver' to the epic, gritty 'Body in the River', the album marks the first time that the pair of songwriters, who met in college back in 1983, have joined forces on a recording.

Hermann describes the album, set for release on September 4th, as 'New York City meets Mississippi meets Athens, GA meets Nashville', and he's right. An array of artists dropped by the studio to lend their support to various tracks. Visitors included North Mississippi All Stars' Luther and Cody Dickenson, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, Sam Bush, Jon Randall Stewart, Anthony Krizan, Jesse Alexander and more, and a full list of performers follows below. The renowned musicians joined in as Hermann and Ewing record their album live in Nashville over a four-day period with Grammy-nominated producer Jon Randall Stewart (Emmy Lou Harris, Sam Bush, and Lyle Lovett,) capturing the energy and electricity that the songs deserved.

With Hermann on piano/vocals and Ewing on acoustic guitar/vocals, Missing Cats sees its founding members shifting from their usual fare (Hermann is longtime keyboardist of Widespread Panic, and Ewing is a singer-songwriter who has drawn comparisons to Keith Richards and John Prine for his solo work,) towards a more full-bodied alternative rock/blues/Americana sound, with lyrics that are cinematic and stories that are rich in character-driven details. With the release of the new album, Hermann and Ewing celebrate their long relationship, and invite both their long-time and new fans along for the ride.

Missing Cats has confirmed a U.S. tour for this fall, as they join North Mississippi All Stars for a series of co-bills. A full itinerary will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Learn more about the band, in their own words - Jojo Hermann and Sherman Ewing talk about the journey that has resulted in Missing Cats:

JOJO: Missing Cats is a project of Sherman and mine built around writing and recording our songs. Over the past decades, going back to our time in the New York City club scene, (long before I ever dreamed of moving to Mississippi and Georgia) with our first band The Bureaucrats, we have played duo acoustic sets throughout Colorado and the Southeast, and this year we finally had the time to finish writing the songs for "Larry Brown Amen" and take them into the studio.

I moved to Oxford Mississippi in 1987 and soon after met Cody and Luther Dickinson who would later form the North Mississippi All Stars. It was always my dream to play and record with them because they are the best drummer and guitar player in the world, who have the ability to take a song and bring it to life with so much energy and sense of rhythmic and melodic hooks. And we share a love of RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. When Sherman and I decided to record the Missing Cats record, there was no question who we would call to lay down the drum and guitar tracks.

I've played with Athens, Georgia band Widespread Panic for over 20 years and it was there I met Mike Mills. We'd gotten to know each other through the years, and I asked if he would like to come up and record with us. Hooking Mike up on bass with Cody and Luther is like a dream team for a songwriting project, and Sherman and I were incredibly fortunate to have them come to Westwood Studios in Nashville to record Larry Brown Amen. By recording all the tracks live as a band together in the same room over a four-day period, it was fun to be able to capture the music's energy and preserve it on the record.

Also playing drums on the record is Chad Cromwell, who we called to play some tracks. After seeing him play with Neil Young at the Ryman, the opportunity to record with him was also a songwriter's dream. He rocked out Vinyl Persuasion and Any Moment along with others, and he and Guthrie Trapp on guitar were crucial parts of the project. Guthrie's guitar on Highwire helped make it one of my favorite songs on the record.

Then Sherman and I went to Jon Randall Stewart's home studio to finish the vocal tracking. JR, as we call him, produced the record along with an incredible engineer, Brandon Bell. JR has written some of Nashville's greatest songs, including "Whiskey Lullaby", and has written for more Nashville stars than can be mentioned here. He has also produced some of the best albums to come out of Nashville recently, most notably the Grammy-nominated "Up on the Ridge" by Dierks Bentley. Having him help Missing Cats hone its craft of songwriting and recording was huge, for lack of a better word.

We were also really lucky to have Jesse Alexander sing on "How We Go From Here" and "Half Way to the Top." She is also one of Nashville's greatest talents both as songwriter and performer.

We also gotta mention how incredibly lucky we are to have Sam Bush play mandolin on the record. I saw him at a baggage claim in Denver, and just walked up to him and introduced myself and asked him if he would play on the record. He and JR played together for many years with Emmy Lou Harris, and Sam graciously came by the studio and added the killer mandolin tracks

While compiling the songs for Larry Brown Amen, Sherman called me up right before we went to the studio, and mentioned a song by Elliott Smith that he loved and had always wanted to record. It was "Rose Parade." After we laid the track down, we fell in love with the song, and we had to add it to the record. We had intended only to record our own songs, but "Rose Parade" had to get on there.

Finally, a key man in this whole project is Anthony Krizan from New York City. As a co-songwriter on several songs and guitarist, (and bassist on two tracks we recorded at the last minute, Skydiver and Body in the River) his contribution is immeasurable.

In a way, this project became New York City meets North Missississippi meets Athens, Georgia meets Nashville, and the resulting sound is "Larry Brown Amen."

Larry Brown was a friend in Oxford, Mississippi, and was one of the greatest writers to come out of there (including Faulkner, Barry Hannah, and Grisham). His writing has been such a huge inspiration to me and practically everyone I know who loves the South. The title track is based on his novel "Joe", about a heroic Mississippi drunk who tends to "drive away the people" he loves. Larry Brown was also the name of the Bureaucrats drummer, so the song (and album title) take on several meanings.

Can't wait to hit the road with Sherman and team up with the North Mississippi All Stars for the fall tour to perform the songs off Missing Cats first record. Thanks.

SHERMAN: Obviously making a record with Jojo after being friends, writing songs doing gigs together over the span of 30 years is an incredible thing for me.

Jojo and I met in NYC during college years preformed in the bureaucrats around New York City. It was during that time that he and I wrote and recorded our first songs.

In 1987 Jojo and I went in different directions -- I stayed in New York and he went down south. After a few years of staying in periodic contact Jojo hit, we pretty much lost touch for several years while Jojo was on the road in the early Panic days. We reconnected around 2000, which happened to be around the time I was working on my first solo cd, Blue Moon. Jojo had heard I was finishing up tracks and very generously set up a gig at the legendary Wetlands club in July of 2001, after a WSP show at The Beacon. We had an amazing evening, and that prompted us to do similar shows in New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore, Savannah and Philadelphia.

Finally, there came a point where he asked me to come join him for a straight up acoustic gig. It started with me opening for him and then joining him for a few of his songs strumming the guitar and singing backgrounds ... then followed a little tour. Somewhere along the way, he came up with name missing cats ... and then we wrote a few songs together… and then next thing you know we were talking about making a cd.

A pivotal moment came in 2010 when I went down to Nashville to write some songs with Jojo and brought Anthony Krizan. The three of us really clicked, and wrote 10 songs in a matter of 2 days ... 5 of which appear on Larry Brown. I had met Anthony when he came into help out with my first release, Blue Moon. He also has played live with me since 2001, and was a major contributor to my follow up cd Single Room Saloon.

This whole process has been amazing … definitely a "pinch me, am I really doing this" experience. It seems that it has developed all along from a very organic place, and in many ways has just followed the path of least resistance… and has lead to Larry Brown Amen being ready for release and a fall tour to follow.

It is about writing and performing songs ... with a very dear friend. It is about having fun. Its been such fun to be along for the ride, and the nature of the all the contributors starting with Jojo and John Randall, Jesse, Mike, Luther, Cody, Chad, Sam, Anthony, Brandon, Taylor, Guthrie has miraculously left me feeling no pressure .... I feel like I have the best seat in the house!!

Missing Cats features John "Jojo" Hermann, longtime keyboardist of Widespread Panic, and New York City-based singer-songwriter, Sherman Ewing. Playing with only a piano and acoustic guitar on stage, Hermann and Ewing combine the sounds of New Orleans boogie-woogie piano and raw emotive songwriting.

Jojo and Sherman met in New York City, and started playing the clubs in1983. Discovering they shared a passion for songwriting, the classmates formed Sherman and the Bureaucrats. Jojo moved to Mississippi in the late '80s and joined the Oxford based band, Beanland. Then in 1992, Jojo became a member of the Athens, GA band, Widespread Panic. Sherman continued to develop his singer/songwriter sound and guitar playing in various New York bands until 2002, when he launched his solo career.

After playing on and off together for 25 years, Jojo and Sherman officially reunited in 2006 to write new songs forming Missing Cats. Drawing material from Sherman's solo album, "Single Room Saloon" (2011), and Jojo's three solo efforts including, "Smiling Assassin" (2001, Fat Possum), Missing Cats toured for the first time in 2009 to tremendous response.

Jojo and Sherman recorded the first Missing Cats record with producer Jon Randall Stewart. Jon has recorded with Emmy Lou Harris, Sam Bush, and Lyle Lovett. Jon also produced Grammy nominated Dierks Bentley's acoustic-driven album, "Up on the Ridge". Missing Cats are excited to capture their original, down- to-earth songs and bring this new music to fans in 2012.

Track Listing/song credits:
Artist: Missing Cats
Album: Larry Brown Amen Catalog #: CD-TBS-0001
Jon Randall Stewart- Producer, Brandon Bell - Engineer, Mixer & Mastered. Recorded at Westwood Studios & Genghis Khan's Palace in Nashville, TN.

1. Any Moment*
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums-Chad Cromwell, bass-Mike Mills, guitar-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Guthrie Trapp, guitar-Jon Randall Stewart)

2. Rose Parade
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums-Cody Dickinson, bass-Mike Mills, guitar-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Luther Dickinson, vocals-Jon Randall Stewart, Mandolin-Sam Bush)

3. How We Go From Here***
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums- Chad Cromwell, bass-Mike Mills, guitar-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Luther Dickinson, vocals-Jesse Alexander, Mandolin-Sam Bush, percussion-Cody Dickinson)

4. Larry Brown Amen*
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals-John Hermann, drums-Cody Dickinson, bass & vocals -Mike Mills, guitar-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Luther Dickinson, guitar--Jon Randall Stewart)

5.1/2 Way to the Top*
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums- Chad Cromwell, bass-Mike Mills, guitar-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Luther Dickinson, guitar-Guthrie Trapp, vocals-Jesse Alexander)

6. Highwire**
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys -John Hermann, drums- Chad Cromwell, bass-Mike Mills, guitar-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Guthrie Trapp)

7. Body in the River**
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums-Cody Dickinson, bass-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Luther Dickinson, guitar & vocals-Jon Randall Stewart)

8.Your Guess is as Good as Mine*
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums-Cody Dickinson, bass-Mike Mills, guitar-Luther Dickinson, guitar -Jon Randall Stewart)

9. SkyDiver**
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums-Cody Dickinson, bass-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Luther Dickinson)

10. Marissa**
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums- Chad Cromwell, bass & vocals-Mike Mills, guitar-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Guthrie Trapp)

11. Cleanse the Lepers**
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums & percussion-Chad Cromwell, bass-Mike Mills, guitar-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Guthrie Trapp, steel mandolin-Sam Bush)

12. Vinyl Persuasion**
(vocals-Sherman Ewing, keys & vocals -John Hermann, drums-Chad Cromwell, bass-Mike Mills, guitar-Anthony Krizan, guitar-Luther Dickinson, guitar-Guthrie Trapp, harmonica-Taylor Hicks, vocals-Donnie Sundahl)

*Songs written by John Hermann; Spoiled Rotten Dogs Music (BMI) & Sherman Ewing; Ewing Sherman II (BM)). **Songs Written by Hermann, Ewing & Anthony Krizan; Anthony Krizan Music (ASCAP). ***Songs written by Hermann, Ewing & Pamela Brown Hayes; Samuel Clemens Songs (BMI). "Rose Parade" written by Steven Paul Smith, published by Spent Bullets Music (BMI).

Manager: Buck Williams at Progressive Global Artists
A Two-Bone Shoes Records/ Jeff Grady and Low Country Boil Productions, LLC.
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