Monday, April 5, 2010
Hill Country Revue - Make a Move 2009
2009 release by this outfit formed by Cody Dickinson of the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi Allstars. Hill Country Revue represents a return to the juke-joint one-chord trance Blues of north Mississippi, styles made famous by local blues legends like R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. The majority of the material on Make A Move was written with one of Cody's oldest friends, Garry Burnside, the youngest of Blues legend R.L. Burnside's fourteen children. By drawing from the traditional songs and modes of the Hill Country, the band stays true to its roots yet pushes the boundary by incorporating new songs and elements for the next generation.
This band follows the legacy of the North Mississippi Allstars in keeping with the tradition of Hill Country Blues. In fact, bassist Chris Chew and drummer Cody Dickinson from the NMA are members of this band, with Cody now utlilizing his guitar talents along with up and coming blues guitar slinger Kirk Smithhart. The material here, while definitely possessing that hill country style, has an extra heavy, polished rock edge to it for a more unique sound. Cody's guitar solos actually sound more like heavy metal shredding with that "scooped" tone and flailing hammer-ons, whereas Kirk has a more of a "meat and potatoes" tone, but churns out some shredding licks here and there as well. Good songs, too. The production quality could have been better on some of the tracks some variation there. Some tracks don't have as much "oomph" as others.
I guess Cody and Chris have teamed up with these guys as a new project due to Luther Dickinson's joining the Black Crowes. This band is really good, but a band with Cody and Chris just isn't the same without Luther, for me. That's just nostalgia talking here--don't get me wrong. These guys have their own sound and are great in their own way, so I'm not knocking them at all, but Luther has a driving force that really makes the NMA something special.
Actually, I saw the NMA in concert in January of this year, so at least they haven't technically broken up. In fact, Hill Country Revue opened for them, and after the NMA's set Kirk, Dan, and Ed from HCB got up and jammed with them, and it was great. You can't beat that!
Any fan of the North Mississippi Allstars should enjoy this CD. Great stuff!
When The North Mississippi Allstars' Luther Dickinson began working with The Black Crowes, his partners, brother Cody and bassist Chris Chew, formed Hill Country Revue, whose music is a composite of the raw early sound of The Allstars and the riff-heavy style of Lynyrd Skynyrd,
As proffered on the noisy "Alice Mae," the quintet preserves the earthy ambience of their shows. The pedestrian lyrics of the self-referential original, though, are hard to miss, but "Dirty Shirt" is more effective, largely because the guitar work of Luther Dickinson is more eloquent as is the fretwork of Hill Country’s own Kirk Smithhart.
Acoustic guitars bring depth to the latter tune too, demonstrating Hill Country Revue’s immersion in the roots of the blues and rock from which they forge their style. Produced by Cody Dickinson and directed by father Jim Dickinson, HCR’s debut studio album exhibits influences that also include the gospel affirmation of "You Can Make It," where the singing guitar refrain echoes Dickey Betts' country styling a la "Jessica."
Steeping themselves in the lore of the South in tunes such as "Georgia Women" and “Growing Up in Mississippi" can render the group too provincial for their own good, that is, until the guitars enter to engage in crosstalk. Fortunately, most songs on Make a Move owe more to the blues than English hard rock, so music lovers north or south of the Mason-Dixon line, or on either coast should get their fair share of thrills, if not any epiphanies, from Hill Country Revue
By Doug Collette.
Cody Dickinson- Guitar,Drums,Piano/Washboard
Chris Chew- Bass,Vocals
Ed 'Hot' Cleveland- Drums
Daniel Coburn- Vocals,Harp
Kirk Smithhart- Guitar,Vocals
Luther Dickinson- Guitar,Vocals
Martin Shore- Drums
Garry Burnside- Guitar,Vocals
Aaron Julison- Bass,Vocals
01. Alice Mae 4:52
02. Hill Country Revue 4:30
03. Dirty Shirt 3:37
04. You Can Make It 5:00
05. Let Me Love You 3:50
06. Talk About Me And You 5:00
07. Georgia Women 4:59
08. Highway Blues 3:07
09. Ramblin' 3:53
10. Growing Up In Mississippi 6:37