Digging for Analog Gold at Dial Back Sound

Inside Dial Back Sound’s unassuming walls, the stories are as memorable as the music. When Iggy and the Stooges dropped by to record a cover of Junior Kimbrough’s “You Better Run,” the punk/rock icon menaced the studio, shirtless just like at a show, his Stooges blasting back at him through the monitors while he barked his vocals.

“We do that a lot,” laughed Matt Patton, co-owner of Dial Back and bassist for Drive-By Truckers and The Dexateens. “Especially if we’re having trouble getting a singer to come out of the shell, we’re just like, forget about all this, we’re gonna blast this track at you.” Continue reading

Drive-By Truckers’ Matt Patton Rides the Great Divide

Matt Patton was reading the Curtis Mayfield biography “Traveling Soul” on a recent flight home from Denver, following the first Drive-By Truckers shows of the year, when a profound coincidence hit him.

It was the weekend leading into the Martin Luther King Jr., holiday, and the chapter he was on happened to deal with Mayfield’s reaction to the assassination and aftermath of the Civil Rights leader. On top of that, he was traveling in support of his band’s most overtly political album, the latest in a 20-year history filled with songs about controversial political figures, such as George Wallace.

Patton, who plays bass in Drive-By Truckers, may have been groggy after the late-evening flight and drive back home to Water Valley, but his disbelief at the confluence — and how history seems to cycle — was palpable. Continue reading

Vasti Jackson: The Soul of Mississippi

There’s no sensory experience like an empty nightclub waiting for its moment.

The way the neon hangs in the room, drawing attention away from the dark corners where revelries past collect. The way the hurried staff burst from double-doored corridors to set a centerpiece or load beer into a cooler, the anticipation rising as guests arrive.

The event on this particular night, 10 years in the making, celebrates the Mississippi Blues Trail, the maze of 194 signposts throughout the state marking significant artists, places and events in the development of the blues. And there’s hardly a person alive who understands the significance of the blues, what it is and what it’s not, more than Vasti Jackson. Continue reading

Three Things You Didn’t Know About The Beatles

Looking back with Geoff Emerick as the classic ‘Revolver’ marks its golden anniversary

Geoff Emerick arrived at EMI studios in London as an assistant engineer right around the same time The Beatles inked their first recording contact. While George Martin gets credit for being the “fifth Beatle,” Emerick was also there from the beginning and had just as much influence over the band’s evolving sound.

As chief engineer on the most groundbreaking recordings The Beatles made, beginning with Revolver—which turns 50 this month—Emerick pioneered recording techniques like tape loops and backwards recording, helping usher in the modern recording era.

During a recent talk at the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, Emerick drew back the curtain on some of the band’s most important recording sessions. Continue reading

Historic Trail Celebrates Success of Country Music in Mississippi

Nashville might get credit for being the hub of the country music industry, where the deals are made and records are cut, but the music itself doesn’t always come from Music City. A lot of times, the music comes to it.

Country music’s roots begin farther south along the Natchez Trace Parkway, across two state lines and deep into Mississippi, where the organic, traditional music of Appalachia intersected the rural blues music of the Delta. Continue reading

Ramblin’ Man: Luther Dickinson Returns to His Hill Country Roots

Sound check is running long at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall in Tallahassee, Fla., where Luther Dickinson is playing alongside friends JJ Grey, Anders Osbourne and Marc Broussard.

Tonight is a one-off gig for their band, Southern Soul Assembly. In less than a week Luther will play a handful of solo dates, and in two weeks he’ll be back on stage with the North Mississippi Allstars, the gig that has made it all possible.

It’s the life of a traveling musician circa 2016—and despite his successes bringing the musical style pioneered by Hill Country forefathers R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Otha Turner to new audiences, being a bluesman still isn’t easy. Continue reading