North Mississippi Allstars

Hernando (Sounds of the South)

For the first six albums, a dozen years into their collective career, the North Mississippi Allstars opted to take a more traditional approach to their rural, rootsy designs, resulting in a sound that paid homage to blues by the book. Then again, that's not surprising considering their family pedigree — two members of the trio are offspring of legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson. It also shows definite credence to name the band after the fertile musical environs where they were raised. However, now that they've gone indie, the all-star trio — singer/guitarist Luther Dickinson, drummer Cody Dickinson, and bassist Chris Chew — has found the impetus to reach beyond its more orthodox precepts by opting for a somewhat edgier motif. The results are manifested in a raucous blend of relentless riffing, sweat-soaked boogie, and full-blown funk. There are familiar precedents, of course; hints of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Little Feat, Hot Tuna, ZZ Top, and others of that ilk are all echoed within. No wonder either that Luther recently announced his intent to join the Black Crowes, a band with similar archival interests. Regardless, "Keep the Devil Down," "Soldier," and "Take Your Time, Rodney" come across as energized and exhilarating, while the subdued blues of "I Would Love to Be a Hippy" offers anecdotal affirmation for these retro refits.

 
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