By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The North Mississippi Allstars took a cue from the Blues Brothers: They got the band back together.
For the past few years, the Allstars – Chris Chew and brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson – have gone their separate ways, with Luther joining The Black Crowes and Cody creating a new band, the Hill Country Revue. Following the death of Jim Dickinson, the brothers’ legendary music producer father, and the birth of Luther’s daughter, the trio decided it was time to come together and do what they do best: make hill country blues music.
“Within a year, our father passed away and our daughter was born. We experienced such a cycle of life – it was so devastating, but so joyful, too. The songs just came pouring out,” Luther Dickinson said in a phone interview with the Daily Journal. “I don’t know where the songs came from, but this is definitely the deepest life I’ve ever experienced. … We do play rock ‘n’ roll, but there’s definitely a lot of blues emotions in the lyrics. It’s rambunctious and rebellious.”
These new songs became “Keys to the Kingdom,” the Allstars’ newest studio album. With help from friends like Mavis Staples, the trio created an album that is full of the pure Allstars sound. The brothers have known Chew since middle school, Dickinson said, so the sound is incredibly natural.
“There’s such a telepathy to when we play music together. It can’t be beat,” he said.
As for the Allstars’ upcoming show in Oxford, Dickinson said fans can expect a few favorites from the ‘90s as well as tracks off the new album.
“When I write the setlist I see what we played at Oxford last time and I’ll definitely change the show up from there. That’s a part of my M.O., to try to change it up and keep the show unique,” he said.
In addition to releasing “Keys to the Kingdom,” the Allstars have recently toured with Robert Plant, and will soon release a live DVD. Luther Dickinson is also set to release an acoustic instrumental album in 2012.
Having the band back together is what makes all of that happen, he said.
“It’s good to be back together,” he said.
Who: North Mississippi Allstars, Alvin Youngblood Hart
When: 9 p.m. today
Where: The Lyric Oxford
Cost: $15 plus fees
Extra: If you can’t see the Allstars at this show, you can catch the band headlining the 59Twenty Music Festival in Meridian on Saturday. The trio will perform alongside Lightnin’ Malcolm, Sonny Landreth, Cheryl LuQuire and more. Check out xorbia.com/59twenty for more.