Allstar salutes 

click to enlarge This is the way we stand in North Mississippi, Yankee!
  • This is the way we stand in North Mississippi, Yankee!

Luther Dickinson says he doesn't see his band, the North Mississippi Allstars, as having to carry forward the Mississippi hill country blues sound to a new generation.

But one wouldn't know it from the group's recently released fourth CD, Electric Blue Watermelon. It finds singer-guitarist Dickinson, his brother Cody Dickinson (drums) and Chris Chew (bass) emphatically embracing key elements of that genre.

Songs such as "Bang Bang Lulu" and "Teasin' Brown" offer up rocking, gut-bucket blues, while a more relaxed, country-flecked feel emerges in songs like "Moonshine." Meanwhile, "Stompin' My Foot" finds the trio getting downright funky.

The band's ties to the music are even more apparent in lyrics that pay homage to the hill country scene, which in recent years has seen the passing of such pivotal figures as RL Burnside, Otha Turner and Junior Kimbrough. Such losses have given more weight to notion that the North Mississippi Allstars will be the group to carry the earthy hill country sound forward to a new generation of fans and musicians.

Dickinson, though, says he doesn't want his band locked into that role, even though the sound will always inform the group's music.

"I still don't claim to be a blues band, or [to] keep the hill country blues alive or [to be] traditional revivalists or anything, but Watermelon is just kind of the personal experiences of dealing with the changes in our community," he says. "In a way, it's a very personal I hope not selfish part of the process of dealing with the losses and the changes."


North Mississippi Allstars, with Jenny Lewis and Lucas Reynolds

Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., Denver

Saturday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $23.50-$25, 16-plus; visit livenation.com.


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