Jimmy Herring Plays a Numbers Game

Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring first came to the attention of Atlanta music fans as the guitarist for the Aquarium Rescue Unit back when Bruce Hampton’s then-new group was playing every week at the Little Five Points Pub and beginning to amass a dedicated following. Like many of that group’s other members, Herring went on to greater fame, including runs with The Dead, Jazz Is Dead, ARU offshoot Project Z and a brief stint with The Allman Brothers Band.

With Panic’s touring regimen reducing significantly in recent years, Herring has put together a new group consisting of fellow Atlanta alumni from various projects with Hampton, including bassist Kevin Scott, drummer Darren Stanley, keyboardist Matt Slocum and guitarist/vocalist Rick Lollar.

“I just wanted to see how it felt, playing with local guys again, kind of returning to the Atlanta music scene, which I had been absent from for God knows how long. I started with Bruce in 1989, and there was a really cool thing happening in Atlanta at that time. And after that, I was never home,” Herring explained in a recent interview with The Boulder Weekly.

“The idea is really simple,” he continued. “Those of us who played with Bruce, it’s almost like an extended family. Even though we didn’t all play with him at the same time. And that’s another thing I wanted – to play with younger guys who played with Bruce but not at the same time I did. And kinda see what they learned from him.”

Funny, then, that the group’s name, Jimmy Herring and The 5 of 7, seems more like a tip of the hat to Hampton Grease Band guitarist Harold Kelling’s early band The Four of Nine. Whatever the inspiration, Georgia fans can experience it firsthand at the group’s upcoming shows at Victory North in Savannah on Nov. 7, the Georgia Theatre in Athens on Nov. 9, and the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on Nov. 20.