Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars had an unusual childhood: He and his brother, drummer Cody Dickinson, are the sons of legendary Memphis producer and pianist Jim Dickinson, who notably played piano on The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses." The family lived south of Memphis in the Mississippi hill country, a cultural pocket whose distinctive blues style is exemplified by the playing of Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. One of the most significant locals whom Luther Dickinson befriended was Otha Turner, one of the last remaining blues fife players, who threw an annual musical party and goat roast.
Dickinson's newest album, Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger's Songbook: Vol. I & II), documents the music of his life with stripped-down versions of more than 20 songs. The excitement he feels about the project is apparent in this session, which World Cafe recorded live from Memphis.