By Roy Trakin.
North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne @ The Troubadour, Los Angeles.
Guitarist Luther and drummer Cody Dickinson are the sons of the legendary, late Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, a man who’s worked with everyone from Big Star and the Replacements to the Stones, and his kids are living up to dad’s wild man reputation. On tour with Swedish-born blueslinger Anders Osborne – they just released an album, Freedom and Dreams, and shared the bill, playing both alone and together, at this pit stop.
Steeped in the slide-guitar-oriented deep Delta blues, Luther comes on stage to start out with “Let It Roll,” before segueing into a loping, New Orleans Cajun take on R.L. Burnside’s “Po Black Maddie,” with its salacious refrain, “Woman I got keeps me cherry red.” The first part of the set closes with a third-line drum rendition of “Granny Does Your Dog Bite,” as several members haul their percussion into the crowd, who shout along with the refrain.
By the time the bearded Osborne stepped up, the crowd was in full swing, with no less a slide specialist as Little Feat’s Paul Barrere joining him on “Black Tar.” What becomes clear is that NMA have traveled from raw roots to a full-on Allmans-meets-Dead rave-up that has managed to attract the youthful jam band crowd that has fuelled a full-on interest in native American musical forms.
The entire ensemble cooks on the zydeco strains of “Dyin’ Days,” from the joint NMO (for North Mississippi Osborne) album, which includes an exhilarating full-on mash-up with “Down by the River” and a raucous, pumping “Brush Up Against You” that proves once and for all, the modern-day bluesman refuses to die. The NMA manage to wrench real feeling out of the same old clichés.