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Ragged But Right ...
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How the North Mississippi Allstars came to be…in their own words…

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Beginnings | First Recordings | Chris Joins | SHWS | Word | 51 Phantom | Polaris | Tate County | HCR | EBW | Awards | the Future

Beginning and influences

“The thing they do that's amazing, I don't think they're even aware of it, is the sibling thing. They think together. I used to hear 'em play when they were literally just making noise, when they were babies, but they'd be making noise together. That in itself is music. That's playing.” –Jim Dickinson

"The first word Luther said was 'studio.' He'd sit and watch the tape recorder run without even hooking it up to anything -- just watch the reels turn for hours. When he was four, he literally slept with a guitar, y'know, the way kids sleep with a Teddy Bear." –Jim Dickinson

“When I was 5 and Cody was 3 or 4 for this one Christmas we got two guitars, a little Strat and an acoustic. Cody and I grew up playing guitars together. When I was 12 and he was 9 or 10 he switched over to the drums. It was a very musical household.” –Luther Dickinson

“My dad hooked me up in open tuning where you strum the strings and it's attuned to the chord and open E tuning. So, I was rockin' some Bo Diddley, the beat with the right hand and using the strings with the left. That was the first song I ever learned, Bo Diddley. I still use all the open tunings. When you're young you go through phases. From the time I was 12 on, guitar's always been my thing, but I also like to play the mandolin.” –Luther Dickinson

"I started on guitar at a real young age, ever since I can remember really. I played it on my lap ‘cause my fingers weren't big enough to go around the neck. Around the age of nine and Luther was 13 or 14 years old, he was progressing a lot faster than I was. He was reading music magazines and really turning into who he is today. So I just decided one day that maybe I would play drums and accompany him. Every kid wants to play the drums at some point. I think the first song we played together was ‘Honky Tonk Women' or some other Stones shit. I was in the fifth grade and had just gotten my first full drum set." –Cody Dickinson

“Actually, the first gig we ever played together was at The Centre For Southern Folklore, when Cody was twelve. I tried to discourage them at first because, y'know, it is a pretty terrible life, but when I realized I couldn't, that's when I knew I had to help 'em. Playing with your family, I didn't want to because it's such a redneck thing to do and it was hard for me to get past that idea. They got so good so fast, especially the drummer [Cody], he sat down and started playing like a man when he was twelve. They tried to get me to teach 'em - especially Luther - but I told 'em that you've gotta learn the way I did, you have to teach yourself. I think rock 'n roll is self-taught y'know. It doesn't matter who else is involved, you have to teach yourself to rock.” –Jim Dickinson

"My dad certainly didn't force us into music. One time he warned me what it was really like - it appears one way but the reality and lifestyle is very different. ... The road is no place for the weak at heart, if you don't absolutely love it, you won't last. If I didn't really enjoy playing drums, I wouldn't do it, that's just f--ing miserable, you know what I'm saying? ... People are sleeping with dirty socks on in their van, that's the reality of it."–Cody Dickinson

“Just about everything I've ever learned on guitar I've learned from some Memphis musician. Like Mudboy and the Neutrons or my friends like Steve Selvidge and other guitar teachers here in Memphis. Memphis has some really diverse heritage. You can study so many kinds of music just from the different musicians living around town -- guys like Shawn Lane, a guitar virtuoso and Ed Finney, a great jazz guitar player who I used to take lessons from. Memphis is a breeding ground. We've all had a lot of fun growing up with all the bands and all our friends making their own way.” –Luther Dickinson

from It Came From Memphis

“It just seemed, especially with Luther, a compulsion. He had to work for everything he’s got. He taught himself. He came to me and said, “teach me” and I said, “if I teach you, you’ll play like me.” And he taught himself. But Cody… he just started playing. He sat down at 12-years old and started playing like a man. Damndest thing I ever saw. Jazz stuff. Stuff that I don’t even know where he heard it, much less learned it.” –Jim Dickinson

“When I got turned onto the hill country scene, it blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that not only was there this great primitive funky modern country blues coming out of Mississippi, but it was right under my nose and I didn’t even know about it!” –Luther Dickinson

“It was incredible, because we grew up, of course, through our dad around the Memphis scene. And like we'd watch him cut the Replacements, or I remember when he was working with Big Star and stuff like that. But in Mississippi we had a home studio. But then once we got to know the Burnsides and the Kimbroughs, they had a Juke Joint and we had a studio, and it was just like musical families, and it just really clicked.” –Luther Dickinson

“Dave Kimbrough was really a huge influence on us. Because even when Junior was alive, he would play in Junior's juke joint and play songs such as "All Night Long." He played the whole song, totally traditional, just like his dad. But at the end of the song, he would crank up the distortion and just go into this huge Jimi Hendrix feedback thing, playing modern, psychedelic guitar; it was bad! He was just incredible with the stuff he was playing. And I thought that was so cool, because here's a man, he's playing his father's music, totally traditional, and then he goes and puts his own thing in there. And that was a validation for us to go on and play whatever we wanted to in the context of these other songs.” –Luther Dickinson

"I got to know the people who made the music and become a part of them. I had a scientific approach to Junior's. I didn't want to alter what I was witnessing. I was friends with the musicians and I would hang out with them. Once they found out I could play drums, they were insulted if I didn't play." –Cody Dickinson

"Used to climb the walls,
juiced up on kool-aid, runnin' wild."

“Otha’s really my closest friend in the hill country. He’s 92, he still farms by hand and plays the cane fife. Last time I talked to him he was bragging about his new driver’s license. He’s a connoisseur of women, moonshine, and blues music.” –Luther Dickinson

“We grew up going to this Baptist church in Memphis where my grandmother played. And it's like the music has also been what touched me. Gospel music is my spiritual outlet.” –Luther Dickinson

"I grew up on the Mississippi Blues, the Memphis Blues, the Chicago Blues, all that good stuff, but I always liked the more primitive (Blues). The nastier it was the more I liked it. And man, the hill country is as nasty as it gets. R.L. Burnside says the Blues is nothing but dance music, and that's the way it is in the hills. You'd go down to Junior Kimbrough's back in the day, and you'd have like the local real Blues fans, the contemporaries of Junior and R.L., the real Blues fans from Mississippi, and then you'd have these 17-year-old girls from Ole Miss, some of the prettiest underage girls you'd ever want to see (dancing) with these old farmers, man. There's just something about it." –Luther Dickinson

“To see 'em playing roots music is something that I never expected. It's like a miracle to me. And to see it as a reflection of the work I did with Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner, it's undeniable. I knew they were listening to those tapes but I had no idea they knew how to play like that. That's the difference between my boys and their musical peers. My boys can sit down with anybody and play. And they both read music, which I can't do.” –Jim Dickinson

First Recordings

“when young, white kids play black music, whether it’s Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, or the Beastie Boys, it turns into rock-n-roll. That’s what rock-n-roll is.” –Luther Dickinson

“When I was a senior in high school we started [DDT]. Played a lot of originals, different styles of songs. Me and Cody and a guy named Paul Taylor was the bass player, an old friend from Memphis.” –Luther Dickinson

“Paul and I had our finger-tapping whammy bar antics." –Luther Dickinson

“They gave me a second career, in terms of rejuvenating the fading spirit of my own musical interests. Luther exposed me to Black Flag and JFA and the early skate punk stuff. At first I thought it was terrible. Then I remember walking around the house and hearing the groove and I thought, my god, I'm listening to Black Flag and I'm hearing the groove!” –Jim Dickinson

“When I was a kid, I produced a lot of gangster rap, and part of me wishes I had done more of that.” –Cody Dickinson

“A lot of people who are influenced by Led Zeppelin or Cream or the Allman Brothers, their stuff turns out sounding more modern. The difference is that we're influenced by the same people those original bands were.” –Luther Dickinson

“From DDT to Gutbucket was real natural because it was just the acoustic side of what we were doing. It was the more gigs we could play and the busier we could stay. Ever since we were teenagers we've just been trying to play as many shows as we can.” –Luther Dickinson

“We used to have a jug band, Gutbucket, in Memphis years ago, and that is when I started playing the washboard.” –Cody Dickinson

Chris Joins the Band

“I grew up in a rural area where there were farms that had sheep, cows, pigs, and chickens. My granddaddy was the big farmer that raised cows, but then he finally just let go of it when I was twelve years old. That is where the country boy in me comes from, my grandparents raising me.” –Chris Chew

“I never took any lessons. I always just picked it up. I was the type of guy that if I wanted to play it then I can do it. I never needed anybody to teach me, so that is how I learned how to play all those instruments." –Chris Chew

“I always had classmates telling me that they were musicians, but I did not know anything about them. They had a band called DDT and were playing in a bunch of dive bars in Memphis. So when I got my driver’s license I drove up to Memphis to check them out. I could tell they were really talented. Anyway, by the time ninth grade came around we all started to hang out. They would invite me over to their house and we would jam out with our instruments.” –Chris Chew

"I met the boys in '88, in the middle school we were all in. I used to watch their Punk band, DDT. So we all just grew up in the same environment, but I was a football player, and they were musicians." –Chris Chew

“I instantly said to him, ‘when do I start?’” –Chris Chew

“As soon as we started the Allstars everyone was real excited, and it was just kind of meant to be. Paul left because he was more of a jazzier type player, and that's when (bassist) Big Chris (Chew) came into the fold! We grew up with Chris and have known him since we were kids. He grew up playing in church.” –Luther Dickinson

"That dichotomy of the church and the blues is still alive. What Chris says is: 'it's all the ministry.' People get the feeling from the music. You're putting out positive energy." –Luther Dickinson

"It's Chew that makes the rhythms come together, with that walking gospel bass. Plus he gets it -- he understands that just by walking on the stage they make a statement. The physicality, the interracial picture, even the way they point their instruments towards Cody." –Jim Dickinson

“As a person and musician Chris brings so much heart to the world. I mean he has got such a big, sweet heart. As a musician, you can never throw him because he is always listening and always giving it his all. He uses his heart and ears. He is just such a good guy, and he is a rock that never changes,” –Luther Dickinson

Record/Release Shake Hands With Shorty

“R.L. Burnside actually named that. He always says we're hanging in there like a dirty shirt. We waited a long time to sign with anybody, and then we got in the game, and its just (laughs) a good, lighthearted title.” –Luther Dickinson

“North Mississippi Allstars lay down blissfully raw and inventive slices of postmodern blues-rock, sure to please young and old. The group comprises Chris Chew on bass, Cody Dickinson on drums, guitar, and samplers, and Luther Dickinson on guitar. They all sing--sometimes in a cool, hillbilly-inspired unison--though Luther handles lead chores most often.” –Mike McGonigal, editor,

“The idea is primitive modernism. It's not supposed to be primitive music, it's not supposed to be modern music, it's supposed to be two things at once. Cody will play an Otha Turner drum pattern, which they achieve with five drums and he's doing by himself, and yet he does it with a contemporary feel.” –Jim Dickinson

"I wouldn't even listen to playback. One of the hardest things I ever did was stay away, but they had to make the first record themselves." –Jim Dickinson

“I was surprised. I was really, really surprised. I don’t know. Luther and I vote on the Grammys and I just didn’t even see it there. I didn’t vote for it or anything. I didn’t even look to see if it was there.” –Cody Dickinson

”Well, it didn’t get nominated last year, so we just figured it wouldn’t get nominated because it’s been out for a year and a half.” –Luther Dickinson

“Listening to the North Mississippi All-Stars play for the first time is like tasting an original dish from a famous chef. You can identify the various ingredients that make up the meal, but can't quite put a finger on what it is that makes them so special.” –Chris Schramm, writer for

The Word and Touring

“We were out on tour with Medeski and a kid in Georgia named John Cane saw me playing the washboard and had the idea and made the electric washboard as a gift. I didn’t know him at all, I just thought it was so cool and nice, I started playing it on stage all the time, ran into a wah-wah pedal and it caught on, ya know, people started to like it so I realized there were all kinds of things I could do with it. It plugs in just like a guitar, so those are all like guitar affects that go through the washboard, so its like intro to ‘Voodoo Chile’ times a thousand.” –Cody Dickinson

“The Word has been great. It all started, really our whole touring career started back in 1998 when MMW hired us to go on tour with them and open up for them on the “Combustication” tour and there we got to know Medeski. We were all blown away by the Sacred Steel record; it was like this new form of gospel music, just blowing our minds. And back then in 1998 we started talking about doing the record and it took 2,3 years to get it together then we got to know Robert just before we started recording and invited him in and luckily he joined in with us.” –Luther Dickinson

“When the tour was over, we did a show at the Lakeside Lounge up in New York City. It was an awesome show because Medeski, Martin and Wood showed up and even John Spencer came to check us out. Some of the Squirrel Nut Zippers were there because they were playing a show the next night at the Roseland. They didn't even know what was going on, they just came in for a drink. Then Iggy Pop walked in. That was pretty funny. That's how it all started. Erik Selz [NMAS' booking agent] and Elizabeth, Medeski's manager, hooked the tour up. We've really been lucky to tour with some of our favorite bands. We did the Medeski thing, we've played with Leftover, we jammed with Mule.” –Luther Dickinson

“I had a funny conversation with Jon Spencer in the last session we did. We were talking about the difference between being in the studio and being onstage, and I told him I loved making a good record and the studio was where it was at. He said "Don't you love it when people clap for you?" That kind of sums it up. I love making a good record because it's timeless and it's a document of where we are right now, but going out and building up momentum playing live music is a whole different thing. I've learned to love them both equally. They create a good balance.” –Cody Dickinson

"I wish I could just write, sit down with an acoustic guitar and have everything come together. I just play until I get something good going, and then I record it, because I can't remember it. Usually I'm working on some lyrics, and then some music comes about, and it's like, oh, they fit together cool." –Luther Dickinson

“I was on tour, and came home- satellite TV, I think it was VH-1 showing Freebird: The Movie. It just floored me. I totally missed Lynyrd Skynyrd, I just never got into it. I was more into the Allman Brothers, or whatever. It’s just full of live footage of the original line-up, and the movie ends with the plane crash. And man, I was just like ‘Oh my God’ I was stunned by that movie. So I went back and found it- and it was hard to find- and I watched it over and over- and that was my favorite song. So I was like, ‘We should play this song’ and while we were on tour with Galactic, and Galactic said ‘Yeah man we just got asked to do this Skynyrd tribute’ and I was jealous- player hating- I really, really loved Skynyrd at the time. Then we got asked to do it” –Cody Dickinson

"That's the thing about the South, it's all different but it's got some of the same spirit everywhere you go. Like around here it's hilly, but it's not hilly everywhere in the South. And I have a car, and for me sometimes you just like to drive around. And you have the power lines running everywhere, so you're driving and you've got all these parallel lines running everywhere and you're cruising through the hills, so everything goes whooshing by in every direction. That's part of home for me. But we've got some of the things that everybody in the South knows how to appreciate as well--great music and dancing, pretty girls, dirt, and drunk afternoons." –Luther Dickinson

51 Phantom is Released

"I tried real hard not to do it. I gave them a list of other producers. But as it turns out, I don't think anybody else could have gotten the record I got. This one reflects their ability to play in the studio more." –Jim Dickinson

“We’ve work together through the years, but we’ve never done a full record. It was really a dream come true.” –Luther Dickinson

“Between Cody and Luther there's a big difference and getting 'em to merge the visions isn't easy for them or anybody else. They would have beaten the crap out of any other producer who tried. Cody likes pop music and Luther's taste is more esoteric, but that's what makes gumbo, putting together things that don't entirely fit.” –Jim Dickinson

"He doesn't even like to cut songs that have been excessively road tested." –Luther Dickinson

“Duwayne and I became friends at first. Around that time we were doing 51 Phantom, I would get home from touring, and Duwayne and I would drive up and down Highway 78 in between Memphis and Holly Springs and hang out. We'd hang out in the deepest hood in South Memphis, and we'd also hang out in our studio.” –Cody Dickinson

“He started hanging out and coming to shows, even riding with us a couple of times before we even asked him to play. He played with Junior as a young kid. He grew up playing with Junior. Junior was a great trainer of musicians. He trained a lot of musicians.” –Luther Dickinson

"What people said were the strengths of the first record would be the weakness of the second I suppose. But I think people will be glad we switched up. I just wanted to try and make a classic rock record, where it's a little journey." –Luther Dickinson

“The slightly negative side of that is that being nominated for Contemporary Blues Album of the Year twice, there's a certain pressure. And people would say, ‘Well, why wouldn't you make another blues record?’" –Cody Dickinson

"The North Mississippi Allstars have taken the best of Delta blues and Southern rock and blended them to create their own sound that is honest, raw, sensual, very powerful stuff. They are important because they are bridging a gap by bringing blues to a whole new crowd while still staying true to the primitive sounds of the Delta. You could call it swamp rock. I love them!” -Lucinda Williams

Making of Polaris

“This record is not going to be the traditional blues record like the way 51 Phantom rocked. This record is going to be a little more rock with a little twist of pop. There is definitely going to be a change in there. Some people might not dig it and some people will. We are all excited about it, and we have a new management team that is also Dave Matthews Band management that is going to keep us busy all year long. We are growing and taking small steps. Our attendance is gradually increasing the more we play. Plus our fan base ranges from twelve to seventy years old.” –Chris Chew

“And this album, Cody and I, we were just trying to do what felt right; we weren't trying to live up to any ideal we had for ourselves. The main thing for me was that this was a real collaborative project.” –Luther Dickinson

"We always knew we were gonna name it Polaris and that we were gonna stretch out further than we were at the time. We made our first record in a barn." –Luther Dickinson

"It's definitely a coming-out for Cody. On 51 Phantom, he had two songs he was working on but didn't want to include them at the time. I'm just so glad he feels comfortable enough...That's really what this record is about: collaboration. If we just played my songs, that would suck." –Luther Dickinson

“We've been searching for the right fourth member for years, but Duwane is just perfect. He's an old school cat. He's not like the Hip Hop generation. He's more like (bluesman) Johnny Taylor, know what I'm saying. And he was friends with like Albert King, Albert Collins. He brings a whole other slant of the Blues. You know, it's funny because like he grew up with R.L. and moves to Memphis but was playing real slick gunslinger Blues. And we're down in Mississippi chasing his dad around. He's a great singer and a great guitar player.” –Luther Dickinson

“Well, we used to see [Duwane] play in Junior Kimbrough's Juke Joint. I guess I'd seen him play now for almost ten years. But he was in a different world than us at that time. Music was just something he did effortlessly. But I saw how talented he was immediately.” –Cody Dickinson

“With Polaris, the band truly comes into its own. The musicians produced themselves, brought the potent punk and garage influences of their earliest bands to the forefront, and wrote their strongest material yet.” -Jim DeRogatis, pop music critic

“We wanted to make a double concept record -- we knew that we would try to be as ambitious as possible -- because the third record is when you finally get to be self-indulgent. If we were trying to make a concept album, we never really had a concept. Our father eventually said that the concept is brotherhood, and I liked that, because that's what it was -- it was about Cody and I moving to Memphis and recording at Ardent, which was a dream come true for us.” –Luther Dickinson

“I went and dragged out the Mellotron and my dad dragged out the Big Star amp. We recorded on 16-track analog, and it was the first time for us ever to record on real tape. It was just a lot of fun, and production-wise, there was a sonic quality I was trying to protect. It was a combination of recording on analog and dumping it into the computer mainly to preserve the sound of the analog tape.” –Luther Dickinson

“Just hanging with you guys for a few minutes, it's obvious to me that that's not just a musical style, that you are some psychedelic mofos. There are people out there trying to manufacture it--and you can really hear it. But the tripped out moments on your record are deep. And when that vibe comes up in the jamming, it's like the magic of old. Like you say, it really does harken back to Electric Ladyland and records of that vintage.” –Frank Goodman,

“Polaris is not some conscious effort to take the band's rock sound in a more accessible, more mainstream direction. It's just what happens when everyone in a group combines all their musical influences without fear. I'm just trying to be honest and write songs about my life." –Luther Dickinson

“Another great thing about making this record is that half of it was recorded live off the floor, first-take, the first time we made it through the tune. We always try to keep that fresh and not overkill it. But the other half was either songs that I brought in or songs that Cody brought in.” –Luther Dickinson

"On our first recordings, that sound was fresh and raw," says Cody. "There are a lot of bands out there today doin' a good job taking songs and making 'em better live with the jam. But that's not necessarily what you want to hear when you put on a record. Our new CD has songs people can listen to, but when we play them live, they can still translate into our jam style."–Cody Dickinson

“That's how we met [Noel Gallagher], he started coming to our shows. He and Gem [Archer], the new guitar player, came to a show we did at the Garage in London. And then the next time we played in London, we played the LA II, and he brought his whole band. He brought Liam [Gallagher], the bass player, and everybody. And that blew my mind, not only that he came back, but he brought the band. And so that's when I really started--I met him briefly at the Garage, but at LA II we really sat down and talked. And I told him how much I admired his work and stuff. On our new record I asked him to sing on it. And he said, ‘Yeah.’" –Cody Dickinson

“Right now, it's an emotional time, with Otha [Turner] passing and us being on the road constantly. It's really dawned on me that when I was coming up, I was fortunate to be able to go to Junior's Juke Joint or see R.L. Burnside in a punk club or make records with Otha. I was a young kid following them around. But now, it's like we're the old cats, and that's really weird!” –Luther Dickinson

“After Otha passed, I went through all my tapes and videos that I made in the early days of our relationship, and there was so much great music there. We would sit around and jam and get drunk, and Otha would sing when he got inspired. I've been transcribing his lyrics, and they're just these incredible songs. That's part of what I want to do on the next record, to keep that alive, because that's a very personal gift. We were just sitting there on his front porch jamming and he'd jump up and throw his hat down and start singing, and he just spoke in poetry.” –Luther Dickinson

“The whole psycho-dynamic is different of course because I’m daddy and sometimes it’s harder and sometimes it’s not. It is definitely harder for me, I don’t know about them because they’ve never been produced by anyone else which I’ve tried to get ‘em to work with other people which is why I came back. I tried to get them to do Polaris with another producer and when they produced it themselves, I thought, “well hell, anything is better than that” because self-production is a myth. I thought my children knew better than that. You can’t be on both sides of the glass at once. When I produce myself, it’s a mistake.” –Jim Dickinson

Tate County Hill Country Blues is released

“The North Mississippi Allstars, Polaris and Tate County Hill Country Blues: prismatic bookends of where the Allstars have been and where they're headed, these two albums dive into the blues from different directions and come out the same place: that liberating 61 Highway of rock.” –Bill Ellis, Archer Records

"We gave this record to Dad and started working on Shake Hands With Shorty, but it was always in our contract that we could self-release it. -Luther Dickinson

"When we started the band in '96, we tried to sound as traditional as possible. Once we got a regular gig on Beale Street playing three hours straight a night, we started stretching out. Chris was bringing in a gospel feel, while Cody and I were playing more rock and psychedelia. On Tate County, the concept was pure. By the time we recorded Shorty, the Allstars' sound was more evolved." -Luther Dickinson

"In many ways, Tate County is the best thing they've done. Their cover of R.L. Burnside's 'Snakedrive' is amazing. That Bryan Gregory solo isn't typical blues. Tate County was recorded while they were still learning the music." -Jim Dickinson

Tours lead to Hill Country Revue

“With the passing of Otha, personally, I feel a direction more back towards home. And I don't know, the next record is going to be a lot of fun.” –Luther Dickinson

"[Bonnaroo] was a free-for-all, lie down and play it. We never rehearsed. Every musician on stage was a professional, and nothing they did was so hard. Luther and Cody had it planned form the beginning. We did Bonnaroo the last two years and needed something different. We couldn't just get up there and play ourselves, so they came up with this idea and it worked well.” –Chris Chew

"It was a great hour show. It was like storytelling. It begins at the start and ends at the end. The songs tell a story. It wasn't planned, it just happened." –Chris Chew

"We had recorded some live shows before and nothing worked. So we thought we'd do the Bonnaroo show regardless and it worked."–Chris Chew

“Going to all the festivals is very cool and something we’re glad to be a part of. Bonnaroo in its self is such a cool thing, and to get to play three years is like, if we weren't playing we'd be going to see everybody else!” -Luther Dickinson

Live from Bonnaroo

“As far as touring, with all of that time in the van and on the bus, when you're somebody like me who's so rooted at home, it dilutes you. You can start to feel disoriented, but the music keeps us straight.” –Luther Dickinson

“We've been at it pretty hard since '98. We started playing as much as we could before we released a CD. And then when Shake Hands With Shorty came out, that enabled us to go coast to coast, and even to Europe and stuff like that, so we kind of took that ball and ran with it.” –Cody Dickinson

"The music is our home." –Cody Dickinson

“That's the one constant of the road, that every night we're there together playing our music, most of which comes from back home. So even when we were on the road and going overseas and playing rock festivals and seeing all the bands we saw, that influenced me, but it all comes back to Mississippi eventually.” –Luther Dickinson

“R. L. is real proud of us, I know.” –Luther Dickinson

"We're not just some sort of bluesy pop act. We're playing music that represents not only us as people, but musically where we're from. There's a deeper meaning to it." -Cody Dickinson

"On stage, I've been able to focus on getting in the groove. And I know that expression's a cliché, but by playing together so much we can be more laid back and stay right in the pocket." –Cody Dickinson

“It’s a different approach. You know Cody’s drums, the way he just turns a piece of music into a song, he just arranges the whole thing back there, you almost take it for granted. But I’ve never really played with a drummer like Cody, he’s just the best, there’s nothing like him.” –Jojo Hermann

"I just enjoy travelin' and playing music. I really appreciate our fans for letting us live our dream." –Luther Dickinson

"Bonnaroo is an experience all its own. You can kind of compare it to JazzFest in New Orleans or some of the European music festivals, but it really just falls into its own category. It's such a great community of people and it's all of your friends there with you. It forces us to really step up our game and try to compare to all of the other greats that are there to perform." - Luther Dickinson

Me and Robert [Randolph] have been friends since we were younger, growing up in Mississippi. With him and the Dirty Dozen and all of our other friends, it's just such an honor to play with people who are doing what you're doing and are your peers. I've learned a lot from old records and stuff, of course, but my second greatest learning experience comes from my peers and the personal interactions I have with them. They can influence me, as well as the rest of the band, in ways that no one else can." - Luther Dickinson

Electric Blue Watermelon

"In the early Fall of 2004, the North Mississippi Allstars (Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew) began what would become the six month process of recording their new record, Electric Blue Watermelon (ATO), their sixth album-length CD. We started at Sam Phillips' Studio with Roland Janes, the Great Kahuna of the Memphis Sound. We let the resulting demos fester a while and then we took the show to Ardent Studio "C" for a month long lock out with Pete Matthews, "Black Pete," as I call him, engineering. We augmented the result at the Zebra Ranch with long time Allstars' recordist Kevin Houston." - Jim Dickinson

"For us, the experience goes back another generation. In the middle 60s, at the Memphis Country Blues Festivals, Mudboy and the Neutrons, our father Jim Dickinson, Lee Baker, Sid Selvidge and Jimmy Crosthwait experienced the cultural collision of wise blues men and crazy white kids with Furry Lewis, Bukka White, Sleepy John Estes and Hill Country master Mississippi Fred McDowell." - Luther Dickinson

"The Memphis County Blues Festivals, held in the mid-60s at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis, TN, created a magical community of first generation blues musicians and the Memphis bohemian underground. Furry Lewis, Bukka White, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Johnny Woods were great role models for generations of blues students, passing on their legacy to audiences and musicians alike. Electric Blue Watermelon was the free-form back-up band created by the late-great Lee Baker for these events. Hipster, hippies, and rock musicians historically interacted with Delta and Hill Country masters and the creative flow went in both directions." - Jim Dickinson

"In my imagination, Electric Blue Watermelon is a musical experience which transcends place and time, life and death. It reaches into the future and back into our past. Every note as if it was your last." - Luther Dickinson

"We all feel like it's our best record. It's a rock 'n' roll record about growing up in Mississippi. We deal with some sad issues, especially with the death of R.L. Burnside this year, and Otha Turner before that. It feels like the end of an era. But we do it in a celebratory way." -Luther Dickinson

"My dad says there's a musical spirit that was once in Memphis that came here. I was hanging out in Memphis, and there were these two cats arguing over who played the trumpet riff in a particular song. And I said, [forget] this! I'm going back home -- there's much more interesting stuff going on there." -Luther Dickinson

"My brother - he came with a lot of good songs this time, he had a direction that he wanted to go. There are these characters, recurring characters like Kenny Brown, and recurring places and scenes. He sings about Jr. Kimbrough two or three times." –Cody Dickinson

"[Dad] rocks hard, man. It's great working with him. The older I get the better, the easier it is to work with him." –Cody Dickinson


"Oh, it's so awesome. I'm most excited about the Grammys this year. When we were first nominated, it's such a surprise and you're so pumped about it. The second nomination is just as surprising and it's great to have those nods from the music industry. But it's been a few years without a nomination, so when we got one again this year, it's a new feeling all over again. Of course, we don't go in expecting to win but... it's just a great feeling." –Luther Dickinson

the Future...

“Really, we're just so glad to be able to work, and to get to do what we love, which is playing music. All you can do is just take it day by day and look ahead, and not dwell on or think about the accomplishments in the past.” -Luther Dickinson

“The only thing I could possibly pass on was this. It's kind of a curse and a blessing, God help 'em. When I see them playing for an audience it really makes it all worthwhile. In a time when everything is so homogenized, even if they weren't called the North Mississippi Allstars, I don't think there would be any doubt where they were from.” –Jim Dickinson

"If we ever get powerful enough where we can bring the second- and third-generation hill-country musicians out on the road with us, and turn everybody else onto them, man, that would be great." –Luther Dickinson

"No, it's never gonna be the 'sophisticated Allstars.' We're dirty south all the way." –Luther Dickinson

“Making music is all I know. I just love it. We play everyday and everyday it's truly a dream come true." -Luther Dickinson

"We just want to take it to the people and keep it real." –Luther Dickinson

From the documentary Do It Like We Used To Do"

All of these quotes came from numerous interviews and articles on the North Mississppi Allstars that are accessible through the internet. I tried my best not to take them too far out of context and keep them within a timeline.
~ little miss strange

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