Smiling Assassin

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
While he's best known for lacing Widespread Panic's choogling jams with flights of keyboard fancy, John Hermann is just as happy digging around in the Delta dirt. This homey collection of back-porch country-blues musings sounds less like a recording session than a surreptitiously recorded house party. Featuring pals such as Blue Mountain's Cary Hudson whose keening fiddle makes its mark on the infectious title cut and Luther and Cody Dickinson the prime movers in the acclaimed North Mississippi All-Stars the easygoing rustic vibe is warm and inviting particularly on a juke-joint cover of the Ray Charles classic "Lonely Avenue," which features vocals from Panic singer ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
While he's best known for lacing Widespread Panic's choogling jams with flights of keyboard fancy, John Hermann is just as happy digging around in the Delta dirt. This homey collection of back-porch country-blues musings sounds less like a recording session than a surreptitiously recorded house party. Featuring pals such as Blue Mountain's Cary Hudson whose keening fiddle makes its mark on the infectious title cut and Luther and Cody Dickinson the prime movers in the acclaimed North Mississippi All-Stars the easygoing rustic vibe is warm and inviting particularly on a juke-joint cover of the Ray Charles classic "Lonely Avenue," which features vocals from Panic singer John Bell. Hermann's guitar playing his instrument of choice here is marvelously messy on "Run You Down," a mood that spreads to everyone else in the room, making tunes like "Abilene" and "Swamp Tag" as much fun to hear as they no doubt were to create.
All Music Guide - Brian Beatty
Fans of John Hermann's keyboard work for the Athens, GA, jam band Widespread Panic may be confounded by this side project. Three days in a Mississippi recording studio with a few musical friends and neighbors resulted in an album's worth of blues and honky tonk tunes. Only two clock in at longer than five minutes -- and those just by mere seconds. But if Smiling Assassin lacks for extended jams and extraneous key changes, the album certainly packs in its share of spirited performances. North Mississippi All-Stars Luther and Cody Dickinson keep things loose and lively on lead guitar and drums, respectively. Blue Mountain's Cary Hudson plays fiddle on the album's title track and contributes some fierce amped-up harmonica to "Run You Down." Hermann's nasal twang may sound nothing like Gregg Allman or Dickey Betts, but his songs could easily be mistaken for Allman Brothers Band rarities and outtakes -- if the Allmans were just another Georgian garage band. A cover of Doc Pomus' "Lonely Avenue" -- a duet with Panic singer John Bell -- brings this accomplished debut to a close with a satisfied, drunken swagger. Guest appearances are also made by Widespread Panic's Domingo Ortiz, Todd Nance, and Mike Houser, as well as longtime Panic producer John Keane.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/10/2001
  • Label: Fat Possum Records
  • UPC: 045778034826
  • Catalog Number: 80348
  • Sales rank: 396,077

Album Credits

Performance Credits
John Hermann Primary Artist, Guitar, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
John Bell Vocals
Michael Houser Guitar
John Keane Shaker
Todd Nance 12-string Guitar, Shaker
Domingo Ortiz Percussion, Track Performer
George McConnell Guitar
Paul "Big Bird" Edwards Bass
Paul Edwards Bass
Luther Dickinson Guitar
Cody Dickinson Percussion, Drums
Cary Hudson Harmonica, Violin
Technical Credits
John Hermann Producer
Michael Iacopelli Mastering
Steve Roberts Cover Photo
Bruce Watson Producer, Engineer
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