Luther Dickinson to Release Three New Records
North Mississippi Allstars/Black Crowes guitarist Luther Dickinson will release three new records on May 8. Each record will feature a different cast of players and each record will explore a different sound. His upcoming releases include: Hambone’s Meditation, an acoustic instrumental guitar record, The Wandering, a showcase for female singers from Memphis and North Mississippi and Old Times There, the second record from South Memphis String Band featuring Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Jimbo Mathus. Both Hambone’s Meditation and The Wandering will be released on the North Mississippi Allstars label Songs of the South while _Old Times There_will be released on Memphis International.
“I grew up on John Fahey,” Dickinson said in a statement. “Hambone’s Meditations is in his Tacoma tradition, but it was Jack Rose who made me realize that the medium of instrumental guitar was there for me to utilize. It had never occurred to me to try it myself and it was a satisfying relief when I did. I write musical ideas all the time and writing this record felt as natural as breathing. This record was very timely in my life as well. My daughter was just an infant as I wrote this material and I was still meditating on my father’s passing. The music fit the mood of the Mississippi winter of 2009.”
Meanwhile, The Wandering gathers five traditionally-minded artists from Memphis and North Mississippi and features the string work of Dickinson and singers Shannon McNally, Amy LaVere, Valerie June, and Sharde Thomas, Otha Turner’s granddaughter and erstwhile leader of the Rising Star Fife and Drum band.
“The idea for the band came together one day when I saw a picture of Valerie playing the banjo, which led me to think about Amy playing upright bass, which led me to think about Sharde playing drums and Shannon playing guitar,” Dickinson says. “So I called them up and arranged a session. We had no idea what to expect and I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it couldn’t have been lovelier.”
Likewise, for the second South Memphis String Band record, Dickinson, Hart and Mathus selected a mix of songs that reflect the essential “southern-ness” of their common background and recruited a fourth member, Justin Showah, to help them delve into that musical heritage. According to the band, the songs on their sophomore album “are reflective of the legacy of slavery, Civil War, reconstruction, Jim Crow-sanctioned segregation and its aftermath.”
On April 21, Dickinson will also release a 78 rpm 10” via the San Francisco-based label Tompkins Square, on which he plays medleys of Southern melodies including “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah/Beautiful Dreamer” on the A side and “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen/Peace in the Valley” on the B side.
Dickinson and the North Mississippi Allstars will perform at Athens, Ga’s Georgia Theater on March 30.