In baseball, you’ve got your all-stars and you’ve got your veteran journeymen. In Southern rock, you’ve got North Mississippi Allstars (above, performing “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” for Jam in the Van), who after two decades of nearly constant round-the-world-several-times-over touring, playing and recording—together and apart—collaborating with other musicians or just straight-up, are still in the upper echelon of the genre. The brothers Dickinson, Luther and Cody, show no signs of losing their edge, back with their potent, swampy blues on their upcoming album Prayer for Peace, out next month. They return to The Bowery Ballroom Thursday night, and you should expect the wily moves of a crafty veteran and the long-ball power of the game’s best. —A. Stein | @Neddyo
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JJ Grey (vocals, piano, guitar and harmonica) grew up outside Jacksonville, Fla., with twin interests in surfing and music. That second one eventually blossomed into a band— currently with Anthony “AC” Cole (drums), Jeff Dazey (sax), Anthony Farrell (organ), Dennis Marion (trumpet), Todd Smallie (bass) and Andrew Trube (guitar)—playing a stew of North Florida influences: country, blues, gospel, funk, R&B and Southern rock, turning JJ Grey & Mofro (above, doing “Every Minute” for Jam in the Van) into cult favorites in the process, thanks to their gritty, soulful performances. Their most recent studio album, Ol’ Glory (stream it below) came out last February, and it finds the band in fine form: “Ol’ Glory is as satisfying to admire in close careful listening as abandoned dance, those dual reactions a clear depiction of the versatility at the command of JJ Grey & Mofro,” according to Glide magazine. And PopMatters calls the album “a reminder of the otherwise forgotten glory of a uniquely American hybrid, one that’s been all but buried in the swell of contemporary trends and oddball artists that have forsaken what remains of their roots and gone headfirst into realms that have little regard for feelings and finesse.” See how it all plays live when JJ Grey & Mofro and special guests North Mississippi Allstars hit the Capitol Theatre tomorrow night. Singer-songwriter David Ramirez opens the show.
Tags: Andrew Trube, Anthony Cole, Anthony Farrell, Capitol Theatre, Cody Dickinson, David Ramirez, Dennis Marion, Jeff Dazey, JJ Grey, JJ Grey & Mofro, Lightnin’ Malcolm, Live Music, Luther Dickinson, Music, North Mississippi Allstars, Ol’ Glory, Preview, Todd Smallie, Video
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NMO – the Space at Westbury – February 26, 2015
It was a night of beginnings at the Space at Westbury on Thursday. With a stage packed with two drum kits and more guitars than fingers to count them with, the marathon show officially began with Luther Dickinson and Anders Osborne as a duet, playfully matching slide guitars in each other’s faces, singing “Let It Roll.” As the two hugged and Osborne left the stage to applause, Dickinson announced the evening as the “North Mississippi Anders Osborne Experience” before inviting his “brothers,” Cody Dickinson and Lightnin’ Malcolm, to kick off things once again with a few North Mississippi Allstars songs. But things didn’t really get rolling until Luther coaxed everyone out of their seats, filling in the space in front of the stage and in the aisles while the trio matched the energy with their bread-and-butter material, including “Shake ’Em on Down,” “Drinking Muddy Water” and “KC Jones (On the Road Again).” The trio flexed their Delta blues–rock muscles with Luther strutting his superlative slide playing and Cody shuffling along in time.
Throughout the night, one song’s ending was another’s beginning, and as the NMA mini-set closed, the entire trio banging away on a drum as Osborne and the rest of his trio—Carl Dufresne and Brady Blade—hopped onstage with their own percussion in hand, Cody Dickinson got the party started, singing “Granny Does Your Dog Bite” and getting the audience to sing along. Before long, the six musicians were on the floor marching through the crowd like New Orleans was on Long Island. Again, it felt like things were coming to an end, but the night was just pushing off from shore as NMA ceded the stage to Osborne and with a soulful moan in his voice and his slide, he took the helm. It seemed like the volume was raised a couple of clicks for this portion of the show with Osborne’s trio in fine form. Antics and marching bands are all in good fun, but the audience certainly was hungry for some red-meat rock and roll, which Osborne delivered. The highlight of the night featured his band rounded out to a quartet with Luther on acoustic guitar for a bang-bang-bang stretch of “Mind of a Junkie,” “Back on Dumaine” and “On the Road to Charlie Parker.” Again, each tune bubbled up out of the predecessor’s ending. The first featured a narcotic Neil Young–esque slow-burn guitar jam with Osborne as soulful as ever. “Dumaine” dissolved into a hair-raising improv with Osborne’s guitar channeling Jerry Garcia and Luther matching with an almost-Latin flair of acoustic guitar picking. Finally “Charlie Parker” was a powerhouse of New Orleans–infused rock and roll that easily could’ve ended the night, but, naturally, they were still just getting going.
From there, it would take a slide rule and a spreadsheet to properly keep track of the permutations of musicians and instruments. There was a trio version of the classic “Junco Pardna,” the Dickinson brothers and Osborne doing justice to the source material. Oh, did they mention that they have a new album out together? Finally, after about 90 minutes of soul-warming Southern rock, they got around to playing material from the new release, Freedom & Dreams, like everything else leading up to it had been a rehearsal. Combined as a massive six-piece, looking and sounding a bit like an updated version of the Allman Brothers Band, NMO proper began their night. “Back Together” stood out here, featuring count-’em three overlapping and interweaving guitar solos. Before the night came to a real, honest-to-goodness close, Cody Dickinson took a washboard solo, complete with wild flashing white lights that seemed to turn the band inside out, Malcolm ending up on the drums, Dufresne on the guitar and Luther on the bass. At one point earlier in the two-plus-hour show, Osborne mentioned the writing of a new song, “Westbury Blues,” joking it wasn’t ready … but maybe for the “next album.” From the sounds of it, for NMO, this is only the beginning. —A. Stein | @Neddyo
Tags: Allman Brothers Band, Anders Osborne, Brady Blade, Capitol Theatre, Carl Dufresne, Cody Dickinson, Freedom & Dreams, Jerry Garcia, Lightnin’ Malcolm, Luther Dickinson, Neil Young, North Mississippi Allstars, Space at Westbury
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Brother-duo North Mississippi Allstars (above, doing “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” for Jam in the Van)—Luther Dickinson (vocals and guitar) and Cody Dickinson (drums and vocals)— combine their Delta blues–based rock with guitar aficionado Anders Osborne (below, performing “Lean on Me” and “Believe in You”) and his soulful New Orleans rock (by way of Sweden) to form the exciting new musical venture NMO. The trio put out a full-length album, Freedom & Dreams (stream it below), just last week. And it’s safe to say that recording the LP was an easygoing affair. “Freedom & Dreams is extremely honest and captures NMO’s relaxed chemistry so well, most of these songs did not even have a proper count off or beginning,” said Luther Dickinson. “We were interested in combining Anders’ singing and songwriting with NMA’s groove and aesthetic to create something unique that neither of us could do without the other—a type of modern Southern folk rock.” For his part, Osborne was equally enthused: “I loved every minute of this recording session! Surrounded by such an amazing group of people, filled those four days with nonstop creativity, love and good food! And the record came out sounding just like it! So good.” Now out on the road, NMO are playing highlights from each catalog, both acoustic and electric, in addition to their new, shared material. And you can see them on Thursday at the Space at Westbury and on Friday at the Capitol Theatre.
Tags: Anders Osborne, Capitol Theatre, Cody Dickinson, Freedom & Dreams, Luther Dickinson, NMO, North Mississippi Allstars, Preview, Space at Westbury, Video
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The soul-funk trio Soulive—Alan Evans (drums), Neal Evans (Hammond B3) and Eric Krasno (guitar)—formed in the late ’90s and has been bringing its own bluesy, jammy brand of jazz, funk, classic rock and R&B to the dancing masses ever since. Krasno joined the brothers Evans for a recording session in Woodstock in 1999, which eventually became their first EP, Get Down! A host of studio albums, EPs and live discs followed, including 2010’s instrumental take on the Beatles, Rubber Soulive. But despite the trio’s recorded virtuosity, far and away the best way to experience these guys is live. Which works out great because with Bowlive IV beginning tomorrow, you’ve got eight chances to see them in person. That’s right: Soulive (above, in highlights of last year’s Bowlive) play Brooklyn Bowl eight times between now and 3/16.
And as always, there will be special guests galore, like Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars on Thursday, Robert Randolph, Lee Fields and the Expressions, and Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds on Friday, Nigel Hall, DJ Logic and the Alecia Chakour Band on Saturday, a tribute to Stax Records with Booker T. Jones on 3/12, Los Lobos frontman David Hidalgo and the London Souls on 3/13, George Porter Jr. and the Shady Horns on 3/14, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr. and the Shady Horns on 3/15, and the Alecia Shakour Band and the Shady Horns on 3/16. Plus, this is Bowlive, and the only way to know which unannounced special guests will show up is if you show up yourself.
Tags: Alan Evans, Alecia Chakour Band, Booker T. Jones, Bowlive, Cody Dickinson, David Hidalgo, DJ Logic, Eric Krasno, George Porter Jr., Get Down!, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Leo Nocentelli, Los Lobos, Luther Dickinson, Neal Evans, Nigel Hall, North Mississippi Allstars, Preview, Robert Randolph, Rubber Soulive, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, Soulive, Stax Records, the London Souls, the Shady Horns, Video
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