When Seasick Steve gives you some advice it’s best to pay attention. Steve, that ragtag ancient-future bluesman with a beard and untamed pickin’ style to rival the mighty Billy Gibbons, seems to see through shit that fogs up most folks’ windshields. So, when he pulled the North Mississippi Allstars in close for a word they sharpened up. Steve told ‘em, “You are the one, you are the link, you have to keep it primitive and take it to the people.” The band answers this call to arms on the superbly raw, dirt floor ready World Boogie Is Coming (released September 3 on Songs of The South Records and available on iTunes & here).
By turns jubilant and downright nasty, World Boogie Is Coming – a “favorite valediction” of the late, utterly great Jim Dickinson, father of NMA’s Luther & Cody Dickinson – is both steeped in tradition and fired up to break with it, a record that feels as old as horse-drawn carriages and modern as some new upper drug.
Fife & drum sashays with hip-hop-ready beats and sizzurp-y production, all the while teased, spanked and twirled by Luther’s positively lascivious guitar (and other string things) attack. A who’s who of roots and blues musicians throw down including Kenny Brown, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Lightnin’ Malcolm, Duwayne and Garry Burnside, Sid and Steve Selvidge, and legendary longhair Robert Plant, who blows some pretty mean harp.
The whole album speaks to Plant’s notion of being “lashed to the blues,” a calling stronger than mere inclination that’s bound to an electrified landscape of rivers, hills and winding back roads filled with real people living both low ‘n’ lean and high on the hog. World Boogie Is Coming takes them tight ol’ blues and stretches ‘em out with prodding, groping fervor. This feels dangerous, homebrew and straight razors just off-camera, rescuing the blues from their yuppified, sanitized, tidy, white-people-at-a-festival contemporary existence, returning them to a land of dry brush and ice tea where trucks sit up on blocks, hound dogs bark, mosquitoes and cicadas feast, and government men best step lightly less they stumble on a still or a hot plate bubbling Sudafed into something meaner and more profitable. There are good folks here, too – lots of them – but this project is dedicated to un-gussying-up the genre. By reconnecting with the local, poor-as-fuck but alive-as-hell underpinnings and putting them in the same room as 21st century innovations and global-minded awareness of the blues’ presence in places well outside of the American South World Boogie Is Coming lights a beacon for others to gather around and join in keeping this music correct in the most scrumptiously visceral & communal ways.
A big part of the atmosphere here and the NMA’s sound in general is the seductively organic pulse Cody Dickinson generates. It’s so goddamn natural it seems as if the earth is speaking, the rocks and stones transmitting their preferences through Cody’s lanky, giddily pummeling limbs. Weather systems stir in his style, thunder and rain expressing their force and delicacy, and always the man making it happen listening attentively to the players around him as well as the audience taking it in. Cody is sharp as a butcher’s blade, cutting through bullshit to get down to the bone. Put another way, he’s like that insane 100-year-old dude that’s been blowing minds forever in some way, way, way back juke who simultaneously possesses a childlike delight in contemporary rhythm innovations – remember this band cut a Chopped and Screwed EP and their previous few albums showed increasing savvy with up-to-the-minute production techniques. More than any of this wordy flailing, it always seems to DI that Cody is trying to locate the drum inside of others and whack it just right. It’s an admirable mission and one he’s far more successful at than he probably realizes.
Here’s what Cody had to say in the Impound’s drummer survey.
- Favorite part of a standard trap drum kit – bass drum, floor tom, snare drum, tom-toms or cymbals?
- The snare drum. The fife and drum marching patterns are a big part of my sound with NMA. Plus, most of my chops are based in the essential rudiments I learned while marching snare drum in school. I use those skills every night on stage.
- Tastiest drummer ever? Tastiest drummer today?
- It is very hard for me to pick a best in anything music related. I think the best drummers are probably ones we have never heard of, someone saving souls somewhere in a church or playing a hollow tree in the Amazon.
- A drum solo I never get tired of listening to is…
- ”Hot ‘lanta” and Mitch Mitchell on Electric Ladyland. “Voodoo Child” and “1983” are both masterful solos.
- Preferred brand of drums? Why?
- I prefer hybrid kits – electronic, modern, vintage, percussion mix. Singularity is coming, another breath for the cyborg.
- John Bonham, Art Blakey or Charlie Watts – which one gives you the biggest drum boner? What makes them SO sweet?
- Ummm uhhhh… Next question?
- One lesser known drummer folks should check out is…
- T Model Ford’s grandson Stud. Stud is bound for greatness.
- What aspect of being a drummer always makes you happy?
- The jokes, no question.
World Boogie Is Coming is also an ongoing film/video project helmed by Cody, who’s growing rapidly as a filmmaker and visual chronicler of this world.