Luther Dickinson Releases "Magic Music for Family Folk"

Article Contributed by New West Records | Published on Sunday, November 19, 2023

Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars just released his new solo album, Magic Music For Family Folk via New West/Antone's Records. The 11-song set was produced by Dickinson and features his 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. Met with critical acclaim, Uncut Magazine named Magic Music for Family Folk their “Americana Album of the Month,” while MOJO said “his admirable motivation was simply to pass it on to the next generation; ‘it’ being great music and the camaraderie it brings. Pleasurable and heartfelt, you have to hope it achieves its intention.” No Depression said, “Buy a copy of Magic Music for your kids, but get another for yourself. It’s good to share, but you’ll want your own to get your groove on as well,” while Glide Magazine said, “...this LP can work not only as a bonding agent across generations but also as a starting point for excursions into the foundation(s) of American music.”

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.”

Today, Garden & Gun premiered the album in its entirety, saying, “Luther Dickinson blazed a trail with his fiery blues guitar licks in his bands North Mississippi Allstars and Hill Country Revue (each with his brother, Cody). But the Mississippi native also knows how to turn down the volume, often trading electric for acoustic on the nimble folk songs of records such as 2019’s Solstice and 2016’s excellent Blues & Ballads, For his new album, Magic Music for Family Folk, Dickinson strips it down even further with touching, easygoing versions of favorite songs he grew up with.” Hear the album in full HERE.

The bulk of the material was recorded in 2017 “during dinner parties, sleepovers, and play dates in a social setting. 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.

"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 NOW via ANTONE'S RECORDS/NEW WEST RECORDS.

Luther Dickinson Magic Music for Family Folk Track Listing:

1. Are You Sure
2. They All Ask’d For You
3. Crawdad
4. Old Blue
5. Beulah Land
6. Old Hen
7. Turkey In The Straw
8. Chicken
9. Boom Boom
10. Pay Day
11. Whatever River