Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I heard the voice of a porkchop say, come on, cover me in grits.

Jimbo Mathus is Mississippi blues through and through. His influences range from Hank Williams, Junior Kimbrough, Charlie Patton, Jimmy Rogers, RL Burnside, and Mississippi Sheiks. Guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and producer, Jimbo Mathus, grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He first caught the public's ear in the 1990s with the hyper-ragtime vaudeville act, The Squirrel Nut Zippers. Since then, he's released many recordings of his own in a style he describes as Mississippi Music. Basically, Mathus says, "I combine the myriad styles of deep roots music in a type of alchemy. Blues, country, gospel and soul all go into the equation equally." He released Knockdown South in 2005 on his own label and received much critical acclaim. It was voted number 2 for Best of 2005 by Honest Tune Magazine.

Mathus played a key role in Buddy Guy's Sweet Tea (2001) and Grammy winning Blues Singer (2004) as guitarist and arranger. He also runs the Delta Recording Service, a studio based in Clarksdale, MS and is sought out by many artists seeking the old school style of recording. One such artist was Elvis Costello, who recorded his Grammy nominated "Monkey to Man" single in Mathus' studio in 2005. He has produced two blues CDs that are nominated for WC Handy awards in 2006; Duwane Burnside's Under Pressure and Big George Brock's Club Caravan. Additionally, he contributed vocals on North Mississippi Allstars' 2006 Grammy nominated Electric Blues Watermelon. His latest release called Jimmy the Kid is out now.

All that being said, who is Jimbo Mathus really, and what is he trying to do to us? "I break down walls and stereotypes with my music. I confuse people. I use Mississippi music, which is renegade music at heart, as my inspiration and motivation. I use it as a tool to reach people, to express my own feelings and continue to express those that came before me. I keep the old stories alive while they help keep me alive". My father told me a story of when he played with Buddy Guy, that after the show, he'd pack up his gear and walk off down the road. No one ever knew whether he'd make it to the next stop. Our good buddy, Eric Carlton, plays keys for him. Thanks to his myspace for most of his bio. "Ben Dewberry's Final Run" has been added to the playlist. Nearby tour dates include:

February 11th - Rooster's Blues House - Oxford, MS (tonight)

March 6th - Crawdad Hole - Jackson, MS

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