The North Mississippi Allstars review…May 19, 2017…

THE NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS

PRAYER FOR PEACE

SONY/LEGACY

PRAYER FOR PEACE–NEED TO BE FREE–MISS MAYBELLE–RUN RED ROOSTER–STEALIN–DEEP ELLUM–BIRD WITHOUT A FEATHER–YOU GOT TO MOVE–61 HIGHWAY–LONG HAIRED DONEY–BID YOU GOODNIGHT–P4P (REMIX)

With a career that is entering its third decade, The North Mississippi Allstars–Luther Dickinson on guitar and vocals, and Cody Dickinson on drums, piano, synth bass, and vocals–are back with one of the most powerful, topical sets of that illustrious career.  Just one look at any news outlet today and you’ll understand the album’s title, as we could all use a “Prayer For Peace.”  These twelve originals touch on hot-button, societal topics as well as a few cuts done for pure, unadulterated fun, just like they have deep down in the Hill Country.

The Dickinson fellows grew up exposed to that region’s musical legends, such as Jessie Mae Hemphill, R. L. Burnside, fife master Otha Turner, and a host of others, and they have constructed their own unique hybrid of that droning, guitar-and-percussion-heavy, foot-stompin’, juke-joint-rattlin’ blues.

You can’t deny that groove that runs thru “Miss Maybelle,” as Luther asks, “can I be your hopping frog?”  Another good “love song” of sorts has Luther “Stealin” a little love from a married woman, vowing to love her “till my easy rider comes!”  This one features not only excellent guitar work, but cool keys from Cody as well.

The music and the folks who play it down in the Hill Country have always had a strong gospel background.  The fellows bring that tradition to this album with a stirring “when the Lord gets ready, You Got To Move,” and again a bit later with the slide-and-keys-heavy “Bid You Goodnight.”

Our favorites bookended the set.  The leadoff title cut is a powerful ode to the recent violence that marred, Boston, Ferguson, Orlando, South Carolina and several other cities, which calls for a universal “Prayer For Peace,” and a fervent wish that we “could all be colorblind.”  Special guest Sharde’ Turner, Otha’s daughter, adds well-placed fife throughout.  The set closes with a remixed version of this song, done in a much darker, more foreboding tone, conveying the same message.

This album was recorded in various studios throughout the country as The North Mississippi Allstars were on their 2016 tour.  They experienced firsthand much of the nation’s unrest that fueled the material that makes “Prayer For Peace” a musical hope for unity and our future.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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