Jiro Schneider In recent years, Hanson have used their celebrity to bring…
- Posted on Dec 15th 2010 4:00PM by Mike Ayers
"We just tried to get a lot of raw performances," Dickinson says. "There's some of our best country-blues in there, but also some great Mississippi rock 'n' roll. I always have to put the Mississippi disclaimer in there."
Since their formation in 1996, the North Mississippi Allstars have received a handful of Grammy nominations for their records, a rarity for a band that's long been associated as a "jam act." They've certainly amassed a fanbase that loves to get down to rock 'n' roll, but 'Keys to the Kingdom' demonstrates a rather mature side of the group. Not only do they explore more of those country-rock sounds as on 'How I Wish My Train Would Come' and 'Jellyrollin' All Over Heaven,' they're drawing from the old blues tradition of taking a familiar song and twisting it around. For example, while the song 'Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again' poaches from the Bob Dylan chorus, they take the altered narrative that Mudboy and the Neutrons penned. The same goes for opener 'This A'Way,' which draws from the Woodie Guthrie song of the same name, but has new North Mississippi Allstars lyrics.
"I'm 38," Dickinson says bluntly. "Our last record ['Hernando'] was youthful and loud on purpose. That's what I wanted to do, but this one is all about the songs. It's the old tradition -- I'm fascinated by the old language, whether it's the old lyrics or old literature. It's what I read, it's in the movies I watch and it just comes out. The blues guys, the way they were doing it, they all did variations on the same song, just with their own twist."
The North Mississippi Allstars will tour throughout most of 2011, with a slew of opening dates for Robert Plant's Band of Joy and a stint at SXSW. They'll also ring in the new year with Robert Randolph at Chicago's House of Blues.