North Mississippi Allstars formed in 1996; the product of a special time for modern Mississippi country blues. Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson soaked up the music of their father, Memphis legend Jim Dickinson, and absorbed the North Mississippi legacy while playing and shaking it down in the juke joints with their blues ancestors. R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Otha Turner and their musical families were at their peak, making classic records and touring the world. Eventually, Luther (guitar, vocals) and Cody (drums, vocals) formed the North Mississippi Allstars and pioneered their own brand of blues-infused rock and roll.
The North Mississippi Allstars released their debut album, Shake Hands With Shorty, in the spring of 2000. Their debut proved to be a success and earned them a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Contemporary Blues Album’. After earning 2 more Grammy nominations in the same category for 51 Phantom (2001) and Electric Blue Watermelon (2005), the North Mississippi Allstars earned the reputation as one of the most intriguing acts to emerge from the loam of Southern blues and roots rock.
In 2008, after five studio albums and more than a decade touring together, the Dickinsons decided to branch out and pursue other projects. That same year Luther started recording and touring with the Black Crowes. He went on to form the South Memphis String Band with Alvin Youngblood Hart and Jimbo Mathus, touring across the country and releasing two albums with them. In 2012, Luther formed The Wandering, a five-piece folk band featuring Shannon McNally, Amy LaVere, Valerie June and Sharde Thomas (Otha Turner’s granddaughter), and released their debut record Go On Now, You Can’t Stay Here. He also recorded and released a solo acoustic album, Hambone’s Meditations, which received a 2013 Grammy nomination for ‘Best Folk Album’.
Meanwhile, Cody formed his own group, Hill Country Revue, which released its debut, Make A Move, in 2009 and the follow-up Zebra Ranch in 2010. The band toured heavily behind the releases and shared the stage with a number of notable acts, including the Dave Matthews Band, Gov’t Mule and Big Head Todd and The Monsters. Cody also honed his producing chops, working with artists like Lucero, Cisco Adler, Anders Osborne and Ian Siegal.
The brothers reunited in 2010 to record Keys to the Kingdom after the passing of their father. Jim had always told them, “You need to be playing music together. You are better together than you will ever be apart.” Inspired by his words, Luther and Cody went into the family’s home recording studio Zebra Ranch, to create a record that could help them cope with the loss and rejoice in his honor.
Most recently, Luther and Cody have toured extensively with Robert Plant & The Band of Joy, headlined major festivals and toured internationally as a headliner and with Ian Siegal as part of The Mississippi Mudbloods. They also released two live bootleg records, 2011’s Live in the Hills and 2012’s Live in the Hills Volume II, both recorded at the annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic in Potts Camp, MS.
The North Mississippi Allstars are at times joined by Lightnin’ Malcolm, Alvin Youngblood Hart, previous member Chris Chew, and a host of other talented musicians.
Lightnin Malcolm has come to exemplify the modern day Deep Blues Guitar groove. Its a sound which traces back to the origins of blues, when a single guitarist rocked the house all night long. When these ancient droning patterns consisting of bass, rhythm, and lead syncopated together are plugged into modern sound systems and teamed up with driving drum beats, Malcolms guitar becomes larger than life, bringin state of the art primal Mississippi Juke Joint Blues to the big stage.
This sound didn't just come out of nowhere. Born in Missouri in mid 70s, Malcolm started playing his music and traveling on the road in his late teens. He lived his music, playing night and day where ever the road took him, surviving off his versatility. "Music had been on my mind since 6 or 7, but it took till my teen years to start gettin around on my own, and you know, put it into action. I played mostly solo then, playin guitar,singing, and kick and snare drums with my feet as a 1 man band."