On their four previous studio albums, the North Mississippi Allstars established their reputation by melding the hill country blues of their native states’ juke joints with more contemporary rock stylings.
But the charge for the group’s new album, “Hernando,” was different.
“I just wanted to make a solid, straight-ahead, focused blues-rock record,” explains singer-guitarist Luther Dickinson, who formed NMAS with is brother, drummer Cody, and bassist Chris Chew. “I really wanted to just do an aggressively live and raw record, and I wanted it to be kind of timeless.
“I wanted to make a classic rock record like I grew up listening to and still love. It came real naturally. It was a really good time.”
The trio knew where to go to get the best help with that approach. The Dickinsons’ father, Jim, is one of rock’s legendary producers, with a resume that includes the Rolling Stones, Big Star, the Replacements and others, and helmed “Hernando” at his home studio, The Barn.
“He’s the master of keeping it fun and spontaneous,” says Luther, who’s doing double-duty this year as a new member of the Black Crowes. “With him, you don’t have to worry about anything. “You just play and sing, and get your act together and do it and trust him to put it all together.
“With that in mind, you can just really work fast and not belabor anything, and that really helped on this record. I love super-produced, layered records, but for our band, we’re just a touring psychedelic blues-rock band, and it’s important to be honest to that.”
The North Mississippi Allstars and Alvin Youngblood Hart perform at 7 p.m. Friday (Feb. 1) at St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Tickets are $15. Call (313) 961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.
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