Dirty Impound Questionnaire

Jimbo Mathus

Tri-State Coalition, Squirrel Nut Zippers

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”Take me to your sweet solution. Bathe me in your absolution.”

New Album

New Album

Dark night of the soul. It’s a loaded phrase, full of touchstones in literature and religion, a collective acknowledgement of the lowlands that exist in every life and the universal desire for light, a new dawn, safe passage through the worst of it. In a yearning, slightly cracked voice riding solitary barrelhouse piano, the new salvo from Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition is the ideal rock ‘n’ roll companion through this troubled, expectant terrain – muscular, confident, battered but persevering music to bolster and uplift when shadows and doubts gather. Dark Night of the Soul, the band’s third outing, is what one throws on when they’re leaving behind a bad life with just a suitcase of essentials, a full tank of gas, and nothing but miles of possibilities ahead, both a torch against the blackness and a spark that reminds one they shine like a diamond even if they feel like coal.

Jimbo Mathus

Jimbo Mathus

In a just few years, the latest band for long time musical instigator Mathus has developed into a well-oiled, classic rock conscious, blues powered unit with their leader revealing more and more of his rowdy side. Mathus is a busy dude – modernizing old-timey sounds with Squirrel Nut Zippers, putting some fire under Buddy Guy in recent years, and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with heavy hitters Luther Dickinson and Alvin Youngblood Hart in the South Memphis String Band – but in many ways the Tri-State Coalition feels like his most personal work to date. Dripping with Southern echoes, the Tri-State Coalition’s sound is a balance of tough and tender, descendent to the Dickey Betts end of the Allmans, prime 70s Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings, and the slinky, country-tinged side of classic Muscle Shoals.

The new album cranks up the guitars and there’s even a touch of greats like Robin Trower (“White Angel”), rowdy Crazy Horse (“Burn The Ships”), and Procol Harum (“Butcher Bird”). Mathus is the epitome of a musician’s musician, and in the Tri-State Coalition – whose current release features spark-tossing electric guitar from The Del-Lords’ Eric “Roscoe” Ambel and longtime Mathus foil Matt Pierce as well as Mathus (acoustic, guitar), Eric Carlton (keys), Ryan Rogers (drums) and guest bassist Matt Patton (Drive-By Truckers) – finds the man at his most engaged, grappling with fundamentals and shaping music that grabs one readily and delivers them somewhere better than where they started.

We asked Jimbo to tackle DI’s signature questionnaire, and here’s what he had to say.

Band Affiliation(s): Tri State Coalition, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Buddy Guy

Instrument(s) of choice: guitar, drums, mandolin

1. Great music rarely happens without…
2. The first album I bought was…
”Only Sixteen” by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
Tav Falco’s Panther Phobia.
4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
5. My favorite sort of gig is…
I like doin’ background music for social events.
6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
I’m an eagle scout in the BSA.
7. I love the sound of…
Scottish fiddle
8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
A grubstake house in San Fransisco. I hallucinated beautifully.
10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
Roller rinks
11. The worst habit I’ve picked up being on the road all the time is…
Watching Judge Judy on TV.
12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
Well, I guess Zeppelin of those two ‘cuz I gotta have some blues component in my music.
13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
An Hopi Indian levitate off the ground at a Sundance ritual in the desert.

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