North Mississippi Allstars
The North Mississippi Allstars were founded in 1996; a product of a special time for modern Mississippi country blues. RL Burnside, Jr. Kimbrough, Otha Turner and their musical families were at their peak; touring the world, making classic records and doing the all-night boogie at Jr’s Juke Joint and Otha’s BBQ Goat picnics — the music and the culture rich as the black Mississippi dirt. Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson soaked up the music of their father, Jim Dickinson, and absorbed the North Mississippi Blues legacy while playing and shaking it down at the juke joints with their blues ancestors. Luther (guitar and vocals) and Cody (drums and vocals) joined up with bassist Chris Chew to form the core of their own band, The North Mississippi Allstars. Through the filter of generations of Mississippi Blues men, the Allstars pioneered their own blues-infused rock and roll and continue to do so. The band hit the road with the release of their first record, Shake Hands With Shorty, Grammy-nominated for “Best Contemporary Blues Album.” Bringing their hill country blues-infused rock & roll to stages all over the country and the world (including multiple tours in Europe and Asia), the Allstars quickly gained a loyal fan base, and to date have released six full-length albums. The bands’s third record, Phantom Record also received a Grammy nod. Electric Blue Watermelon, their newest release and third album to receive a Grammy nomination, embodies the Allstars’ own sound. It reflects the band’s old times and lives growing up in their musical community in North Mississippi. “The record holds to the folk tradition of oral history,” as Luther Dickinson puts it. “Electric Blue Watermelon celebrates the lives and legends of men who are folk heroes in my community. If the traditions are passed down and kept alive, they can’t help but mutate and change.” Electric Blue Watermelon is certainly a departure from the blues tradition, but it is a record that reaches in the future and back into the past. It’s loud psychedelic southern folk rock blues.