Luther Dickinson Talks Songbooks, Hymns and the Power of Music

Few modern artists have as storied a past as that of Luther Dickinson. From being born into a musical family — his father Jim was a world-renowned producer and musician, and he and his brother Cody regularly collaborate together with the North Mississippi Allstars — to playing with a myriad of talented acts, Dickinson has never been one to rest on his laurels.


Fans of The North Mississippi Allstars and perhaps even casual attendees of their shows may quickly recognize more than a few of the songs on Luther Dickinson’s musicological endeavor Blues & Ballads. But “Bang Bang Lulu” and “Shake (Yo Mama)” sound markedly different in the understated form in which they appear on A Folksinger’s Songbook Volumes I & II.

Luther Dickinson’s Folk Celebration of Family and Community

Luther Dickinson has spent years rocking loud and hard with the North Mississippi Allstars, the Black Crowes, and the Word. But at heart, he’s an acoustic guitarist, and on the new Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook, Volumes I & II (New West), he’s taken songs from his catalog, re-recorded them as folk songs, and turned his back pages into a celebration of community and family, including his father, legendary producer Jim Dickinson.

Luther Dickinson: Live at the Paste Studio

Luther Dickinson has real southern roots: he was born in Memphis, Tennessee the son of record producer Jim Dickinson, who, among many staggering credits, played on The Rolling Stones’Wild Horses and produced Big Star album Third.

Luther Dickinson: "Hurry Up Sunrise" Video Premiere

On the front porch of hill country blues and fife-and-drum legend Othar Turner’s home in Senatobia, Mississippi, is where Luther Dickinson found inspiration as a young guitarist in the 1990s. “Mississippi Fred McDowell was my favorite guitar player, and I’ve been studying his music for many, many years. When I finally took my guitar down to Otha’s house, he was like ‘Damn boy! I didn’t know you could do that!’” remembers Dickinson. “I didn’t know that Otha and Fred McDowell were best friends and used to be neighbors.

Luther's Lifesongbook

“I think we’re just a rock and roll band,” Luther Dickinson tells those who would label his North Mississippi Allstars a blues outfit. But on his latest solo project, Blues and Ballads: A Folksinger's Songbook Vol I &II, Dickinson exhibits a side heavily influenced by blues and folk, but not fully belonging to either category. It's sweetened more than his usual blend of hill country drone and rock, often sounding more gospel oriented than anything he's done to date, solo or with the band.

First Listen: Luther Dickinson's New Solo Album

The blues runs deep in Luther Dickinson's blood. The son of famed Memphis musician and record producer Jim Dickinson (the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan), Luther moved to the north Mississippi hills when he and his brother, Cody, were barely teenagers, eventually befriending the families of the Hill Country’s revered troika of bluesmen: Junior Kimbrough, R. L. Burnside, and cane fife player Otha Turner.

NPR Music Songs We Love Premiers "Ain't No Grave" Ft. Mavis Staples

On "Ain't No Grave," a track from his new solo album, the singer-guitarist Luther Dickinson stares death right in the face, quite literally. The song's opening words are "I looked death dead in the eye as he passed me by." But the frontman for the North Mississippi Allstars isn't indulging in morbidity; he's delivering a deeply felt tribute to his late father, James Luther "Jim" Dickinson.



Article in Country Weekly

“To me, music is food and you need a variety to stay healthy and strong,” says guitar virtuoso Luther Dickinson of his prolific musical output, which, at last count, includes three new, somewhat divergent roots albums planned for 2015. That’s on top of the two he released in 2014... " Read Full Article Here