Saturday, January 3, 2009

North Mississippi Allstars

My preview of the North Mississippi Allstars appears in this week's Charleston City Paper.

North Mississippi Allstars
By Andrea Warner

North Mississippi Allstars have spent the last 12 years churning out songs that prove boys also wanna have fun. Their newest release, Hernando, named after their hometown, is no exception. The group’s brand of bluesy Americana guarantees a rambling, raucous good time, albeit one that goes well beyond Cyndi Lauper sneaking in after curfew. The album is solidly invested in a countrified, blues-infused, rock ’n’ roll lifestyle involving women, the rawhide-tough elements of heartbreak, and exorcising their demons with one searing guitar riff after another. Comprised of brothers Luther (vocals, guitar) and Cody Dickinson (drums, keyboards) and Chris Chew (electric bass), the Allstars released their first album in 2000, unleashing a sound that equally confounded and delighted critics. The debut, Shake Hands with Shorty, was rooted in blues, but borrowed a little bit from country, boogie, and rock. Eventually the group even incorporated elements of hip-hop, creating a fully contemporary sound at once familiar and original. The real pleasure, as any NMA fan will likely say, is the long, luxurious onstage jams that have perpetuated the band’s excellent reputation for live shows. With Luther moonlighting as the Black Crowe’s rhythm guitarist, and Chris and Cody working on other side projects, who knows how many more times NMA’s brand of feel-good “world boogie” will blow through town? Catch them while you can.

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