Comprised of Hernando, MS-based sibling duo Luther (guitar, vocals) and Cody Dickinson (drums, piano, synth bass, programming and vocals), the sons of renowned pianist, vocalist and producer Jim Dickinson, North Mississippi Allstars are a critically applauded, commercially successful, multi Grammy Award– nominated, Grammy Award-winning Southern fried rock/blue duo celebrated their 20th anniversary together with a national victory-lap-like tour, and reportedly along the way, the duo booked studio time in Memphis, New Orleans, their father’s studio in Hernando, MS, and about six other cities, writing, tracking and recording their recently released eighth full-length effort Prayer for Peace, an album that finds the band based around the boogie blues and fuzzy funk of their live sets and a message of positivity, inclusion, hope and the power of familial bonds.
Co-produced by Boo Mitchell, and featuring guest spots from an incredible list of friends and associates including Oteil Burbridge, who has had stints with The Allman Brothers Band and Dead & Company; Grahame Lesh, a member of Midnight North and The Terrapin Family Band, vocalist Sharisse Norman, Dominic Davis, a member of Jack White‘s backing band and Shardé Thomas, vocalist/fife player and daughter of Mississippi blues legend Otha Turner, Prayer for Peace features both original and covers and will further cement the band’s reputation for celebrating the blues’ legacy and history while pushing it into new, contemporary directions; in fact, the Electric Blue Watermelon: Screwed and Chopped EP found the band meshing the classic blues sound with Houston’s screwed and chopped hip-hop movement, creating a sound that was bluesy yet lysergic.
Interestingly enough, the first single off the Grammy Award-winning duo’s eighth full-length effort is a stomping, swaggering, arena rock-friendly cover of R.L. Burnside‘s “Long Haired Donkey” that features explosive slide guitar riffs played through layers upon layers of effects and a tight groove. Reportedly, the song is a nod to the duo’s early years when fellow Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside took them under his wing. After Burnside’s death in 2005, the duo paid homage to their friend and mentor by adding “Long Haired Donkey” to their setlists, making it a live show staple before they officially put it on wax, 15 miles west of St. Francis Hospital where Burnisde spent his last days. And as a result, the recorded version possesses a moody and spectral vibe underneath the free-flowing, you-were-there improvised feel.