North Mississippi Allstars

"Prayer For Peace"

(Sony Legacy); (Blues)

By ​Phil ​Bennett

The sons of legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, guitarist and drummer Luther and Cody Dickinson make up this high energy, blues rumbling outfit.

Prayer For Peace, their eighth studio album, is a raw, punchy dose of powerful, slinky blues, all red dirt slide guitar wrenching and splintery snare cracking that sounds like it’s been fermenting in the swamplands for decades.

It’s uncompromising and sometimes quite confrontational – Bird Without A Feather is a staggering steamtrain of a track, with Cody’s drums sounding like a drunk falling down the stairs, while Luther’s guitar drags out the notes like rusty nails – and always delivered with almost religious fervour.

Highlights include an uplifting take on Mississippi Fred McDowell’s You Gotta Move which features a lively vocal accompaniment from Danielle Nicole, a beautifully Gospel inflected Deep Ellum that has Cody stepping up to the mic ala the Band’s Levon Helm, and a grainy, manic version of RL Burnside’s Long Haired Doney.

Rich in history and detailed with plenty of unsettling textures, Prayer For Peace is muscular, no frills blues that snarls and bites as it shakes off the dust.

There are moments of rare beauty like the delicate Ry Cooder slide stylings of Bid You Goodnight but, on the whole, listening to this album is like stepping into a juke joint in full swing with the Jamaica Ginger flowing, the fists flying and the legs kicking.

Powerhouse.

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.