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North Mississippi Allstars Make Break With 'Hernando'


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North Mississippi Allstars

Michael D. Ayers, N.Y.

As an ode to their hometown, blues-rock act the North Mississippi Allstars have dubbed their next album "Hernando." Due Jan. 22, the 11-song will mark the first release on the group's Sounds of the South label, to be distributed by RED.

"I wanted it to be timeless, in a classic rock way," guitarist/vocalist Luther Dickinson tells Billboard.com. "For awhile, I didn't write anything for like a year. But then we started collecting riffs and soon we were turning the faucet again."

After demoing about 20 songs, the Allstars were able to complete recording "in about two weeks," says Dickinson. "I really wanted to make a raw, stripped-down live record. The word we kept throwing around in the studio was 'heavy.'"

The group's loyal fans have come to expect a pure blues sound on Allstars records, which Dickinson attempts to capture without using Pro Tools in the studio.

"Recording is still hard, but I love it," he says. "That's part of what I meant about making a timeless record. If you can bear down and make yourself work and get a moment where other people get it right; if you can push the band to get that great take."

The Allstars will return to the road in January for a nationwide tour. Also on tap is a reformation of the largely instrumental side project the Word later this month. The group, which also features John Medeski and Robert Randolph, will play four east coast reunion shows, with tentative plans to record the live output.

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