Interview de Luther Dickinson, lead vocals and lead guitar
Your father was a musician and a producer. Can you tell us a little about him?
Jim Dickinson, Memphis musician and record producer worked with Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Albert King, Albert Collins, Sleepy John Estes, Furry Lewis and many more.
Is the North Mississippi Allstars a family affair ?
NMA is a family affair consisting of my brother Cody and I. Our father used to play piano with us.
Can you define your music ?
Mississippi rock n roll; Blues influenced rock n roll.
Can you speak about your cigar box guitar ?
Friends give me home made instruments and I love to play them. The cigar box sounds good, but the coffee can Diddley Bo sounds amazing!
Can you speak about your brother, Cody ?
Cody is very talented. He brings about the modern influence in the band.
How was the blues scene in Hernando when you was born ?
I grew up around our father and his friends who were influenced by Furry, Sleepy John, Bukka and Fred McDowell. In the 90’s we were influenced by RL Burnside, Otha Turner and Jr Kimbrough. North Mississippi in the 1990s was amazing!
How is it now ?
Now we are always on the road touring or recording in the studio, so it’s so different for me.
How is the blues scene in Mississippi ?
If you want to know about modern day Mississippi blues, come to the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic that happens every June. It’s amazing. All the elder masters are gone, but the younger generations are doing great and keeping the family traditions alive.
You are rare in France. Why ?
We lost our international record deal and agent around 2003 and are so proud to have the opportunity to come back now.
How is the audience in Europe ?
The European audience is wonderful and lives up to its reputation as being such.
You worked with John Hiatt. Can you speak about him ?
Hiatt is a true professional and a gentleman. He rehearsed with us for a total of two weeks teaching us by hand; he really whipped us into shape. He gave me the best advice, “play it like you’re the only guy trippin’ in the band and nobody knows you’re tripping!”
And Robert Randolph ?
What a talent. Robert Randolph is a once in a lifetime experience! So talented and evolved, innocent and yet totally evil at the same time!
John Medeski ?
Medeski is a genius musician, cook, conversationalist and record producer. John is awesome and humble and a blessing to know.
How did you meet Lightnin’ Malcom ?
Lightnin Malcolm and I met on the bandstand at Jr Kimbrough’s juke joint. I asked him to borrow his guitar and he said “we’re gonna raise the devil and put a block on him!”
You, your brother and Lightnin’ Malcom play several instruments of music. How do you organize your shows ?
We take turns, but I get a lot more turns! 5 for me, 1 for you…
Your shows are very spectacular. Can you define them ?
Thank you. We try to create moments of excitement or feeling and try to freak people out!
You are a very good performer. How do you train yourself ?
Thank you. I try to stay focused on the music no matter what scenario I am in and let that be the focal point. I try to listen and to feel and to respond and react.
Propos recueillis par Claude Dannic
Thanks to Yazid Manou