North Mississippi Allstars: Set Sail 2022 Tour

Felton Music Hall Santa Cruz

Sunday, February 6, 2022 8:00 PM


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Event Details

Please note that all patrons of Felton Music Hall will be required to show either:

Proof of Vaccination (with a matching ID)
A Negative Covid-19 Test (with a matching ID)
plus, all patrons must wear a mask indoors.

Doors 7pm // Show 8pm // Ages 21+ // $28 Advance & $32 Day of Show

***This is a standing room general admissions show. There will be a limited number of chairs located in the back of the concert hall. Seating will be first come first served. The restaurant will be open for dinner starting at 4pm.

Felton Music Hall Presents:

Nothing runs deeper than family ties. Brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughtersunderstand one another at the purest level. When families rally around music, they speak thisoft-unspoken bond aloud and into existence. After 25 years, twelve albums, four GRAMMY®Award nominations, and sold out shows everywhere, North Mississippi Allstars open up theirworld once again on their thirteenth album, Set Sail [New West Records], welcoming otherfamily (by blood and by the road) into the fold. As legend has it, Luther and Cody Dickinsonstarted the band in 1996 as a loose collective of like-minded second-generation musicians whoshared a local repertoire and regional style. Over the years, the lineup shifted by design, andeach subsequent record offered up a different combination of collaborators. This time around,they mined the talents of Jesse Williams on bass and Lamar Williams, JR. on vocals. During theAllman Betts Band Family Revival, the Dickinsons first linked up with Lamar, son of the AllmanBrothers bassist Lamar Williams, Sr., becoming fast friends and collaborators and eventuallypaving the way for Set Sail.

“The chemistry we have with this lineup is powerful,” observes Luther. “We are allsecond-generation musicians and share a telepathic, relaxed ease about creating andperforming. I believe music is a form of communion with our loved ones and conjuring this vibewith members of musical families can be inspirational. Lamar and I are like-minded. I’ve neverhad the pleasure of working with a singing partner like Lamar. He has a true-blue quality in hismusicality that will pull you in and break your heart. At the same time, Jesse grew up playingmusic with his brothers and his father—as did we. He plays like a sibling. We recorded thealbum fresh off the road and captured the energy we had worked up with him. I’m drawn tomusical families, regardless of style. Playing with second- or third-generation players allows usan easy unspoken musical dialog. It’s not a big thing; it’s just what we do. We never had to figureout what it means and takes to be a musician. We all inherently know.”

They picked up this wisdom by osmosis. As sons of legendary producer and musician JimDickinson, Luther and Cody have been producing records themselves since they were teenagers.Separately, the brothers have produced albums by Samantha Fish, R.L. Boyce, Lucero, AmyLavere, the Birds of Chicago, Ian Segal, and more. Luther produced two records from OthaTurner, including Everybody Hollerin’ Goat, which was named one of the ten most importantblues albums of the nineties. Luther and Cody co-produce North Mississippi Allstars records asthe “Dickinson Brothers.”

“We learned an enormous amount from our father,” Luther says, “Cody and I made mistakes,but we’ve always believed in ourselves, and we had to learn for ourselves. Rock ‘n’ roll isself-taught. Each generation has to reinvent itself and shed the skin of the elders. On Set Sail, wefeel as if we’ve once again ‘broken the code,’ and know what we want and how to get it.”

Following 2019’s Up and Rolling, which received a GRAMMY® Award nod in the category of“Best Contemporary Blues Album,” Set Sail continues the band’s tradition of creating rootsmusic that displays remarkable variety. Luther and Cody Dickinson dig in with the productionand different guitar tones; the record sizzles with hard yet understated groove, grown folkmusic. Luther’s wide-ranging guitar style features jazz riffs, psychedelic sounds, and soulfulslide. Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Cody draws on roots music, rock, jazz, rap, and otherstyles to create rhythms that propel the band’s sounds and move it forward. Their two aestheticscombine to create the band’s unique style, “Primitive Modernism,” melding the new and the old,traditional, and futuristic, crafted lyrics and improvisational music. Speaking of, the first singleand title track “Set Sail Part I” [feat. Lamar Williams, JR.] rides a riff right out of the SouthernDelta into the embrace of a horn section as the vocal interplay simmers on the line, “The watermay rise again, but we shall set sail.”

“‘Set Sail’ really set the tone,” Cody goes on. “It could be taken literally or figuratively.Philosophically, it’s about the way the waters literally do rise. We’re talking about climatechange in a literal sense, but it’s also symbolic in a social sense. It won’t be the first time.”

“See The Moon” [feat. Lamar Williams, Jr. & Sharisse Norman] hinges on a head-nodding bassline as Sharisse’s harmonies uplift a downright spellbinding performance from Lamarunderlined by Luther’s unpredictable guitar phrasing. The most familial moments on the recordhappen when Luther’s daughters Lucia and Isla sing together on “Authentic” and “Didn’t WeHave A Time,” marking a full circle moment in poetic fashion. Delicate instrumentation wrapsaround plaintive and powerful lyrics laced with nostalgia on the lullaby-style chorus. “It’s one ofmy favorite songs,” smiles Cody, who has recently become a father himself. “Hearing my nieceson it was a high point. It was really meaningful, deep, and beautifully sad, but also hopeful.”

Strings and horns give way to the smoky blues of “Never Want To Be Kissed” [feat. WilliamBell], illuminating yet another side of the sound. Luther notes, “Most of these songs have beenfloating around in my lyric books, waiting for their time to come. ‘Rabbit Foot’ and ‘Outside’were inspired by conversations I remember having with Otha Turner and R.L. Burnside. Weleaned into our other greatest influences: folk, soul, and psychedelic rock, but everything we playfeels like North Mississippi. The recording also benefited from a new creative process I learnedfrom a book, Q on Producing, that Cody sent me. I read about Quincy Jones’s philosophy ofnever recording a vocalist reading a lyric sheet. Up and Rolling was recorded with the band inthe room. The genesis of Set Sail was the nylon string guitar and the vocals, and letting thememorized lyrics shape the song structure or lack thereof. This led to a whole newphonetics-based editing process that I’d never used before. Some of the lyrics were improvisedand created on the mic, capturing the moment of creation.”

Building the songs from the guitar and BPM on Set Sail enabled Luther and Cody to experimentwith their drum and guitar sounds in a leisurely way they hadn’t afforded themselves since theirdebut album, Shake Hands with Shorty (1999). In the studio, Cody mixed the songs again andagain, working tirelessly but never losing perspective. Cody’s grooves and Luther’s songwritingfurnish the album’s foundations.

Luther admits, “Recently, I had my mind blown by Rick Rubin saying that fitting lyrics into thepuzzle of structure can compromise the message. Indeed, rules are made to be broken. I’m gladthese songs came to fruition at this time because I was able to express my stance on life and love.The fear of having my children grown up and asking me why I didn’t speak up for what Ibelieved in has driven me and helped mature my songwriting and solidify my stance. Havingkids made me get my story straight.”

The Dickinson brothers have recorded and toured with Mavis Staples, Charlie Musslewhite,John Hiatt, Robert Plant and Patty Griffin, G Love, Jon Spencer, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, LosLobos, and the Black Crowes. Meanwhile, their seminal debut, Shake hands with Shorty (2000),earned the band the first of four GRAMMY® nominations, and changed the Dickinson brothers’lives forever.

Luther adds, “Quincy says, ‘Music gives back what you put into it.’ We have dedicated our livesto music, and it’s given us a fantastic journey that’s still only beginning.

In 1997, R.L. Burnside hired me and took me on the road. R.L., Kenny Brown, and CedricBurnside taught me how to tour nationally after years of touring locally. The Shake Hands withShorty tour in 2000 took Cody and I around the world and changed our lives. We never reallyslowed down.”

They forge ahead always as a family, first and foremost. “North Mississippi Allstars meansfamily,” Cody concludes. “I get the joy of working with my brother. Our families keep growingtoo. There’s a sense of history. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to recordthis music, so younger kids can hear it. I just want to make sure we pass it on. It’s a huge honorto be a part of this tradition.”

Felton Music Hall

6275 Hwy 9
Felton, CA 95018
United States (Directions)