|Luther Dickinson — Rock 'n Roll Blues |
Luther Dickinson — Rock 'n Roll Blues
Ξ A son of Memphis royalty, a talented guitarist with an eclectic range of influences, and one of the North Mississippi All-Stars.
Born: January 18, 1973 in Memphis, TN
Member of: DDT, Gutbucket, North Mississippi Allstars, South Memphis String Band, The Black Crowes
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Album release: March 18, 2014
Record Label: New West
01. Vandalize 2:53
02. Blood 'n Guts 3:19
03. Yard Man 3:08
04. Goin' Country 3:18
05. Mojo, Mojo 5:18
06. Rock 'n Roll Blues 2:47
07. Bar Band 2:44
08. Stone's Throw 4:16
09. Some Ol' Day 3:20
10. Karmic Debt 3:30
•Ξ Brad Blackwood Mastering
•Ξ Luther Dickinson Composer, Guitar (Acoustic), Liner Notes, Producer, Vocals
•Ξ Jamie Harmon Photography
•Ξ Kevin Houston Engineer, Mixing
•Ξ Amy LaVere Bass (Upright), Vocals
•Ξ Lightnin' Malcolm Drums, Vocals
•Ξ Glynnis McDaris Photography
•Ξ Paul Moore Design
•Ξ Luke Reynolds Composer
•Ξ Shardé Thomas Drums, Fife, Vocals
•Ξ 2014 Rock 'n Roll Blues Top Heatseekers #28
Written by Hal Horowitz March 13th, 2014 at 10:59 am
Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
•Ξ Unplugged shouldn’t always imply laid back as Black Crowes/North Mississippi Allstars’ guitarist Luther Dickinson proves on his third solo release. While the title may lead some to think this is more of the amped up boogie and Southern rock favored by his other bands, it lives up to its name with a stripped down combination of Amy LaVere’s stand-up bass, thudding drums (without the distraction of cymbals) from Sharde Thomas and Lightnin’ Malcolm along with Dickinson’s acoustic guitar.
•Ξ Swampy, basic rocking with strong undercurrents of folk, blues, country and some of the marching fife and drum backwoods music that Dickinson was raised on make this home studio recording feel authentic and lived in. The lyrics clearly emerged out of Dickinson’s deep Southern upbringing, from the rough and tumble early days in a “Bar Band,” being freed by punk rock in his pre-teens on the thumping opener “Vandalize,” his distaste of yardwork on the droll “Yard Man,” and the struggles of a rock band on the road that thankfully avoids the clichés of that well-worn subject in “Blood ‘n Guts.”
•Ξ Dickinson doesn’t have much of a voice but it’s perfect for this unvarnished conglomeration of roots sounds. His talk-singing works particularly well on the introspective closer “Karmic Debt,” a tune that recalls decades old folk in its repeated melody line, chorus free multiple verses and story of a lonely sailor aching to return home to his true love.
•Ξ In this climate of over produced, slicked up Americana, Dickinson’s dialed down approach is charming, rustic, uncluttered and delivered with the honesty of a guy who wouldn’t know how to do it any other way.
Review by Thom Jurek; Score: ****
•Ξ "In 2012, Luther Dickinson released four albums; among them was the instrumental acoustic record Hambone's Meditations — his first proper solo album apart from the North Mississippi All-Stars. It was nominated for a Grammy. Rock 'n Roll Blues is, in a way, an extension of that record. It's a collection of ten songs that Dickinson claims didn't fit on his other records. Altogether they create a loose, autobiographical song cycle about a life spent making music. It's played by a tight, all-acoustic band in a relaxed backporch manner. Dickinson's voice and guitar are supported by Amy LaVere's upright bass, Sharde Thomas' drums and fife, and second drummer Lightnin' Malcolm. •Ξ Everybody sings backup. The album unfolds like a road map through the backwoods of Dickinson's life. "Blood 'n Guts" is an easy-grooving yet cautionary country Americana number with shuffling snares and tom-toms. "Yard Man" is a swinging country blues with stinging acoustic guitar; the ghostly harmonies and hypnotic drums on "Goin' Country" evoke both Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside. •Ξ Woven through all of these tunes are senses, impressions, humorous asides, hard luck, the influences of forebears and musical ancestors, joy, grief, etc., all delivered by a wiseacre guitar-slinging poet whose insight is keen enough to keep his lyrics free of maudlin bullshit. In the title and "Bar Band," tender Mississippi open-field melodies counter the poignant lyrics. "Mojo, Mojo" is a sweet country blues girded by Thomas' fife, LaVere's bass vamp, tight tom-toms and snares, and lilting harmonies. This is the sound of Dickinson paying tribute to one of his prime influences, Thomas' grandfather Othar Turner. John Fahey's earthy American Primitive fuels "Stone's Throw," whose lyrics contains genuine irony. "Some Ol' Day" is ushered in by drums and bass, then riven with a distorted acoustic guitar to become a genuine hoodoo rocker. Closer "Karmic Debt" is an old-timey country waltz; its title disguising its romantic nature (a hymn of gratitude to a spouse), but there's enough kickdrum and razor-sharp fingerpicking to push through the skin and into the bone. Though Rock 'n Roll Blues is autobiographical in nature, it's actually much bigger. Dickinson goes outside himself as music evokes the spirits of earlier generations and the earth that bore them."
•Ξ Un excellent nouvel album acoustique. Recommandé.
•Ξ Luther Dickinson was born in western Tennessee to parents Mary Dickinson and famed Memphis producer and musician Jim Dickinson. The family moved to the north Mississippi hill country in 1985, where Luther and his brother Cody grew up going to Jr Kimbrough’s juke joint and Otha Turner’s fife-n-drum goat BBQ picnics.
•Ξ He and his brother, Cody, started the North Mississippi Allstars in 1996 playing Hill Country Blues inspired “Mississippi RocknRoll.” RL Burnside hired him to go on the road in 1997 and he has since toured all over the world from Russia to Japan to Australia.
•Ξ Luther made his recording debut at age 14. He went on to record with the Replacements, Mojo Nixon, Beck, Toy Caldwell, Billy Lee Riley, Lucero, John Hiatt, Mavis Staples, Jon Spencer, Ry Cooder, Lucinda Williams, Spooner Oldham, Levon Helm, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, George Porter, and a host of others. In the mid 1990s, Luther produced Otha Turner’s albums Senegal to Senatobia and Everybody Hollerin’ Goat (named one of the top ten blues records of the 90s by Rolling Stone).
In 2011, as a member of the Americana Music Award house band Luther backed up Robert Plant, Patty Griffin, Gregg Allman, Amos Lee, Justin Townes Earle and many others.
•Ξ As a member of the North Mississippi Allstars, South Memphis String Band and The Word, Luther has made himself widely known as both a talented musician and as a producer with four Grammy nominations to prove it- three in the contemporary blues catagory and one in traditional folk.
|Luther Dickinson — Rock 'n Roll Blues |