North Mississippi Allstars Mourn Their Father's Death on 'Keys to the Kingdom'
In the country-blues world, producer Jim Dickinson had a rather legendary reputation. Throughout his 40-plus-year career, Dickinson helmed sessions with a variety of acts, including Big Star, the Replacements, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Mudhoney and lent his keyboard talents to recordings with the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Toots and the Maytals and Bob Dylan. He even dabbled in contemporary Brit-pop, recording with Primal Scream on 1994's 'Give Out but Don't Give Up' and working with Spritualized's Jason Pierce on his now classic album, 'Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.'
So it's no surprise that Luther and Cody Dickinson, sons of Jim and two-thirds of the North Mississippi Allstars, would want to pay homage to their father, who died in August 2009 due to complication surrounding heart surgery, on their new album 'Keys to the Kingdom.' "A majority of this record is about our Dad," guitarist Luther tells Spinner. "They all ended up being heavy."
Over the years, the North Mississippi Allstars have lent their talents to a variety of different projects. Luther has been actively playing and touring with the Black Crowes and, years ago, formed the Word, a hyper-rock gospel band with John Medeski and Robert Randolph. But for 'Kingdom' they leaned on their father's old friends to help them get through the recordings as well as add their classic touches.
"The song 'Ain't No Grave,' that's just a brutally honest song about my father's passing and my daughter being born," Luther explains. "I wrote that really fast but I couldn't