Up and Rolling
The North Mississippi Allstars emerged two decades ago as free-spirited inheritors of hill country blues, helping broaden the reach of the time-tested juke joint repertoire of R.L. Burnside, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Junior Kimbrough to a younger jam-band crowd. The two constants in the Allstars lineup—brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson—were quick to experiment and collaborate, a tendency that landed each of them in a slew of other groups. Moved by the sight of 1996-vintage photos of their late mentors and younger selves in their old stomping grounds, they circled back to the tradition with renewed gravitas on Up and Rolling, gathering descendants of their heroes, including Sharde Thomas and Cedric Burnside, and a racially and generationally diverse crew of other like-minded Southern singers and players. The grooves are relaxed and in the pocket, and the lead vocals spread around congenially on the older songs ("Out on the Road," "Lonesome in My Home") and the unequivocally conscious, regionally rooted new statements ("Bump That Mutha Music," "Living Free") alike.