Guitarist and singer Luther Dickinson has been a staple of the North Mississippi music scene for decades now, rising to prominence as a member of the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi Allstars, and later as lead guitarist for The Black Crowes. However, his latest record, Blues & Ballads, marks a step back from the electrified blues-boogie sound that made him famous in favor of a more stripped-down, personal approach to songwriting.
According to Dickinson, Blues & Ballads “celebrates the American oral tradition of blues and folk songs, not only being passed down and evolving but being transcribed… [a]nd entered into the discipline of written sheet music and songbooks.”
The CD is packaged with Luther’s own handwritten lyrics, but the vinyl LP fully embraces his stance against the immediacy and vapidity of modern music consumption. It includes a songbook of transcribed songs — “the original recording technique,” according to Dickinson — and was produced in a limited run with the intention of retaining an exclusive, underground aura.
“This art is not for the masses,” he says. “It is meant to wither and fade and then rise from the ashes again and again, evolving and mutating.”