Wednesday, September 11, 2013

North Mississippi Allstars at Irving Plaza

The late Memphis musician and record producer Jim Dickinson inspired a musical interest in his sons, Luther Dickinson (guitar, vocals) and Cody Dickinson (drums). The brothers founded North Mississippi Allstars as a southern blues and boogie band in 1996. The group’s first album was released in 2000 and the ninth album, World Boogie is Coming, was released this September 3. Luther also plays in the Black Crowes and Cody also performs in Hill Country Revue.
At Irving Plaza tonight, North Mississippi Allstars was joined by Lightnin’ Malcolm on bass. For two hours, the musicians traded vocals and instruments, but always stayed true to the sounds of Mississippi delta blues, one of the earliest styles of blues music. Delta blues is known for its slide guitar, and there was plenty of that tonight. The band took this traditional music and on a few songs even paired its cigar box guitar and washboard with funk and rock arrangements. At times it sounded like Dickey Betts had joined Hot Tuna. Since the musicians frequently traded instruments, each had an opportunity to impress with dizzying slides on the guitar frets. The band ably performed a tour of southern blues music, slow and fast, soft and loud, but even so, the slithering slide guitar did get monotonous on occasion. Towards the end of the show, however, the musicians put down the stringed instruments and paraded through the audience playing drums like a marching band. This was not fashionable music, it probably will not get played on many radio formats, but it was honest American music.

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