North Mississippi Allstars get dirty
Knee-deep in dirty roots, North Mississippi Allstars are back in the Vail Valley and ready for more. They perform at State Bridge Lodge in Bond at 7 p.m.
Continuing the family business of music (father Jim Dickinson is the famed musician/producer who worked with Ry Cooder among others), brothers Luther (guitar) and Cody (drums) Dickinson spent days in the studio, watching their father and other artists. Cody began playing professionally for his dad at age 11. While still teen-agers, the duo recorded with the Replacements, the New Gospel Choir, Toy Caldwell, Mojo Nixon and Billy Lee Riley.
Fortuitously, the brothers went to school with bassist Chris Chew. Chew was the class favorite and a football star; he made his rock debut playing guitar for Hernando High School’s Homecoming Dance. But he’d been bitten by the Southern bug early, and for a while didn’t miss a single Sunday service. His leanings fit in well with the Dickinsons’, as the brothers – whose first band initiative was a punk one – discovered old-school blues rock straight from the hills, with soul to spare.
The trio went on to cut their first album, “Shake Hands with Shorty,” which earned them a Grammy nomination. Described by Spin Magazine as “a brash youth-man covers collection drawn mainly from hill-country blues forefathers, Mississippi Fred McDowell and R.L. Burnside,” it’s a mixture of blues, gospel and rock.”Music is a celebration of life, a self-declaration of being alive,” writes Luther Dickinson. “The first time I heard it, I felt I was finally communicating with people from my planet. This is a journey I had to make. It’s all I wanted to listen to. It’s all I want to play.”
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As shock and outrage over George Floyd’s killing swept the nation over the weekend, even the luxurious streets of Vail Village were not insulated from pressure boiling over in the form of demonstrations.