Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars will release his new solo album, Magic Music For Family Folk on November 17 via New West Records. The 11-song set was produced by Dickinson and mixed by Jeff Powell at Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, TN and by Kevin Houston at the Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch Studios in Coldwater, MS. Magic Music for Family Folk features Dickinson’s rendition of favorite songs from his childhood by The Meters, Staple Singers, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson and more. The album also includes guests Yola, Allison Russell, Lillie Mae, Sharde Thomas, Sharisse Norman, as well as Dickinson’s Mother and Children.
Dickinson delivers an album of songs from his community that run four generations deep. The 10-time GRAMMY Award-nominated producer, solo artist, and North Mississippi Allstars co-founder creates a record worthy of its own traditions. Dickinson says, “This collection of my childhood favorites was recorded for fun, at home, with family and friends, in the spirit of sharing. As a new father, I needed music that my family and friends could enjoy that’s also suited to my funky taste and organic, acoustic aesthetic. Having daughters altered my listening habits and it was hard to find records that we all liked, so I had to make one.”
“Everyone is welcome.”
The bulk of the material was recorded in 2017 “during dinner parties, sleepovers, and play dates. I wanted to expose my kids to the joy of recording music. So we would invite friends over to the house and record, family style."
After burning rough mix CDs for the family car, Dickinson stowed away the project until earlier this year. He says, “When it comes to art or music, the perspective of time can’t be bought or faked. This record definitely benefited from fresh ears, as well as techniques and sounds I had developed over the years doing production and film scores.” Luther’s daughters initially recorded vocals for the album in 2017 and later overdubbed them this year. “Having my daughters sing along with their younger selves was a unique sensation and document of their youth,” Dickinson says.
Today, Holler premiered the single “Beulah Land,” featuring Yola, Allison Russell, Sharde Thomas, as well as Dickinson’s mother and daughters. They say, "'Beulah Land' is a timely spiritual and a unique document of togetherness in a world that often feels divided and in need of a little love." Dickinson offers, “Our version of Mississippi John Hurt’s ‘Beulah Land’ is my favorite. Allison had just finished recording when Yola arrived for the evening dinner party. But as soon as she walked in the door, I sat her down, handed her headphones, and hit record. Her spontaneous, first impression vocal performance, without ever hearing the track, instantly became my favorite moment of recording. These days, if I am going to sing a spiritual song, I gravitate towards a non-specific, inclusive message and ‘Beulah Land’ speaks to the theme of the album and supports the Magic Music of Family Folk concept I wanted to share with my children.”
SHARE LUTHER DICKINSON’S “BEULAH LAND” FT. YOLA, ALLISON RUSSELL, AND SHARDE THOMAS
Relix Magazine previously premiered the album’s lead off track, “Are You Sure,” featuring Sharde Thomas and Sharisse Norman. Popularized by The Staple Singers on 1972’s Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, Dickinson translates the track into a breezy acoustic number accented by a soft beat, bluesy guitar lead, and hummable heavenly harmonies.
"My father, Jim Dickinson, learned 'Old Blue,' 'Turkey in the Straw,' and 'Old Hen' from his friends and teachers, Memphis musicians Furry Lewis and Gus Cannon. Passing his songs down to a fourth generation felt magical and inspired the title" he shares.
Magic Music for Family Folk closes with Dickinson’s sole original. He says, “I wrote ‘Whatever River’ for my daughters as a possible portal of companionship — in case they ever miss me in the future. It’s my personal belief and practice that music is a realm in which one can commune with loved ones, transcending time and space. Therein lies The Magic Of Music for Family Folk.”
In the end, Luther Dickinson might just bring you and your loved ones close to the speaker… and one another.
Luther Dickinson’s Magic Music for Family Folk will be available across digital platforms, compact disc, standard black vinyl, and is available for pre-order NOW via ANTONE'S RECORDS/NEW WEST RECORDS.