Luther Dickinson Blues & Ballads UK Tour plus Matthew Ord & Niles Krieger

Sage Two

Black Crowes and North Mississippi Allstars guitarist, Luther Dickinson, brings his exceptional guitar skills to Sage Two this September.

In his new album Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook) Vol. I & II, he finds his way forward by retracing his steps. This ambitious double album collects twenty-one tunes from throughout his life and career, songs he wrote with his rock & roll band the North Mississippi Allstars, songs he learned from friends and family, songs passed down to him by his heroes and mentors, songs that have lived in the American subconscious for decades now and pares them down to their irreducible elements. Voice, guitar, drums. Here and there some blues fife or Beale Street piano.

The performances on the record itself are some of his most excitable and energetic, with the bounce and rumble of early blues and rock; the arrangements transcribed in the illustrated songbook (which accompanies the vinyl edition of the album) reveal the intricate and imaginative rhythms and melodies that underpin all of Luther’s compositions. “The idea,” he says, “was to re-record everything very stripped down—very acoustic and honest and folky—to accompany the songbook.” As the subtitle suggests, this is only the beginning of what promises to be a multi-volume undertaking.

Blues & Ballads has a retrospective flavour, but it’s not a greatest hits. Rather, it’s a means of translating these songs to a new moment, of letting them breathe and take new shapes.

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