The power trio is back.
North Mississippi Allstars’ fifth studio album, “Hernando” refines their guitar-bass-drums combo to immediately remind you of Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Guitarist Luther Dickinson blazes through a set of mostly original new blues-rock workouts with little of the distractions that have doomed past albums to inconsistency. There are some interesting experimental change-ups but the album is much more focused on delivering a set of music indigenous to their namesake region and their hometown, the album’s title.
The band’s rhythm section is made up of Luther’s brother Cody and bassist Chris Chew and all trade off vocals along with some guests from around the area. The Dickinson’s father, the legendary Jim Dickinson produces the album and contributes one of his own songs (“Rooster Blues.”) The rousing opener is an instant classic. “Shake” (what your mama gave you) showcases their southern sense of humor. The drums thunder and the bass pulsates through heavy rockers “Keep the Devil Down” and “Soldier” recalling not only the sixties originators of the power trio but contemporary bands like The Black Keys and Robert Randolph. The centerpiece is a slow blues adaptation of a Champion Jack Dupree song they call “I’d Love to be a Hippie.” A couple of rockabilly songs provide a change of pace and they finish with a song unlike any they’ve done before, the haunting “Long Way from Home.”
Luther Dickinson credits his dad with the album’s cohesion. ‘‘To my ears, we’re a blues rock band, and a classic rock-sounding band, so we thought, let’s make a straight ahead blues rock record. My father producing the record really helped weed out the squirrely songs.” Sometimes father knows best.
Listen for songs from North Mississippi Allstars album “Hernando” all this week on Paul Shugrue’s new music show “Out of the Box” on Hampton Roads public radio 89.5 WHRV Monday through Thursday from 7pm until 9pm, Saturday afternoon from 1pm to 5pm and on-demand at www.whrv.org/outofthebox.