North Mississippi Allstars

Shake Hands with Shorty

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Luther and Cody Dickinson (the sons of Memphis producer-musician Jim Dickinson) play guitar and drums like two true brothers on this debut outing. Exploring the world of Mississippi modal juke-joint music, the duo, with bassist Chris Chew, come up with the freshest style to hit roots music in decades. Their sound is a little bit of ZZ Top, a little bit Allman Brothers, some hip-hop beats and samples, a touch of Cream, and a little bit of Little Feat with the modern inflection of jam bands like Widespread Panic -- sometimes happening all in the same song. Although the set list is as old-timey as it gets ("Shake 'Em on Down," "Drop Down Mama," "Drinkin' Muddy Water"), what they do to the material is anything but; just when you think you have them figured out, the beat, the sound, or the approach will change. Although the disc is loaded with guest artists ranging from fife player Othar Turner to the Tate Country Singers, it's ultimately the band's show, and the success of this album rests in their hands. Highly, highly recommended.

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