KOTO'S THE RIDE: NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS

 “If this were 1971, these gentleman would be the biggest band in the world. It may be a disservice to such outfits as the Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin, who actually held such titles in that age, but after seeing the Allstars live, there’s really no way to reach any other conclusion. Guitarist Luther Dickinson channels both Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix with explosive ferocity while brother Cody Dickinson scrambles around his drums like a loose-limbed Neil Peart…,” LA Times

Luther and Cody Dickinson, No. Mississippi Allstars

Luther and Cody Dickinson, No. Mississippi Allstars

Cotton field psychedelia – or should I say psycheDelta? – echoes off the Rockies when the North Mississippi Allstars party hardy at KOTO’s Inaugural Ride Festival, Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and August 26.

The no-holds-barred musical mashup also features headliners Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Ben Harper, Los Lobos plus James McMurtry, JJ Grey& Mofro, The Lumineers, The Wood Brothers, David Lindley, Nathaniel Rateliff, Matthew Curry & The Fury, Lucinda Williams and Jimmy Herring.

The North Mississippi Allstars are Luther and Cody Dickinson, who were hardwired to become professional musicians. Their father was the acclaimed musician and renowned producer Jim Dickinson. And the brothers grew up in Hernando, Mississippi, near Memphis, the North Hills legacy soaking into their skins, while the duo played and shook it down at juke joints with their bluesy ancestors.

In 1996, inspired by their antecedents, the Mississippi Hill Country blues tradition of local heroes RL Burnside, Fred McDowell, Junior Kimbrough, and Otha Turner, the Dickinson brothers formed the North Mississippi Allstars with Luther on guitar and Cody on drums, a classic power duo if there ever was one. After more than a decade touring together and releasing five studio albums –  three of which were Grammy nominated – the brothers decided to explore new turf and go their separate ways.

In 2008, Luther played guitar and mandolin on the Black Crowes release, Warpaint, and soon became a full time member of the band. In 2009, he formed the South Memphis String Band with Alvin Youngblood Hart and Jimbo Mathus, touring on and off and releasing an album, Home Sweet Home.

Cody formed his own group, Hill Country Revue, which released its debut recording, Make A Move, in May 2009, followed by the release of Zebra Ranch in Fall 2010. The band toured heavily behind the release, sharing the stage with the likes of the Dave Matthews Band, Gov’t Mule, ( a guest at the upcoming Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, September 14 – September 16) and The Ride headliner Big Head Todd.

As a duo, Cody and Luther have toured extensively with Robert Plant & the Band of Joy, rocking many major festival stages.

“Give me a great theatre and the North Mississippi Allstars kicking things off and I’m gone,” said Plant of the brothers.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to my chat with Luther Dickinson.

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