Luther and Cody Dickinson’s latest pushes the boundaries of northern Mississippi blues music by integrating programmed loops and electronic dance beats. The four-song EP injects tinges of soul, gospel, blues, and The Blind Boys Of Alabama with metronomic grooves, modern beats, and heart-pounding sound effects.
Culled from material showcased on their previous record Prayer For Peace, this is a mesmerizing recipe that works, re-imagining the songs “Prayer For Peace,” “Miss Maybelle,” “Red Rooster Run,” and “Need To Be Free.” The last track features DJ Spanish Fly, Rev Sekou, Al Kapone, Sharde Thomas, Frayser Boy, and badass slide guitar from Luther.
The blend of soul-based genres humanizes the sterility and robotic nature of electronic dance music. Luther’s fatback slide guitar and countrified vocals on “Miss Maybelle” is pure grit and feel, while “Red Rooster Run” with its tripped-out hiccups and guitar edits is reminiscent of Jeff Beck’s forays into electronica. “Need To Be Free” integrates rap, tribal drumming, and call and response with psychedelic blues guitar.
This is a successful experiment displaying what can happen when forward-thinking bluesmen step outside the box.
This article originally appeared in VG August 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.