The Art Of The Sit-In | Luther Dickinson

JB: You have a bunch of dates with a very interesting incarnation of Phil Lesh & Friends coming up. How did you meet Phil?

LD: Phil hired me to come play a run at Terrapin Crossroads and we hit it off! I am not shy on the bandstand when I feel musical freedom and he responds to that. Phil is a true master. He has built a home base and brings in younger musicians and teaches them his craft, his way of working and his traditions. It is amazing to behold. [The shows we played in the spring] were very exciting.

[Photo by Joe Russo]

Also, JB: Do you have much experience with Dead music? Can we assume you were a fan already?

LD: Of course, I grew up with the music but I had never learned it. Finally learning the repertoire has been such a thrill. Robert Hunter’s use of American language and history is truly unique. He is up there with Mark Twain and Bob Dylan. I also admire Jerry's guitar hooks -- genius rock ‘n’ roll guitar playing. It's great how structured the Dead's music is. It sounds so free but it is intensely cerebral.

JB: You seem to have a pretty unique chemistry with Anders Osborne that I imagine will be a big focus of this Phil lineup. Talk about that a little bit.

LD: Anders and I hit it off immediately. He is one of my favorite rock ‘n’ roll guitar players and a great singer. We see eye to eye and complement each other.

JB: How much time are you spending on your solo music? You had a bunch of terrific releases in 2012 and I was particularly taken with Hambone Meditations. What else is coming up?

LD: I have been concentrating on North Mississippi Allstars but I do have some tricks up my sleeve for the future. I wrote a score to a silent film that I plan to share with everyone next year. That was so satisfying and inspiring.

JB: Do you expect more music and shows with Butch Trucks and Oteil Burbridge in the future? That seemed like an interesting project and you've obviously known those guys for ages.

LD: What a dream come true! We plan to do another Roots Rock Revival Camp next year.

JB: And as I hit all the bases, do you think you and Cody will be performing with The Word again any time soon?

LD: I sure hope so! We need The Word!

THE DOSSIER: 5 Hot Luther Sit-Ins From the Past Year and 1 From the Vault

It’s hard to go wrong with Luther, but these shows jump out as strong examples from the past year of Luther and NMAS as host or Luther as guest musician.

NMAS and Friends at Minglewood Hall, Memphis, TN, 11/23/2012: Everything you love about the NMAS and more: a show on the more-or-less home court of Memphis, a runaway train feeling as the jams percolate and build, and likeminded guests (Burnsides! Alvin Youngblood Hart!) weaving in and out as everybody switches instruments.

Luther at Bowlive, Brooklyn, NY, 3/7/2013: This one has a little bit of everything from Bowlive: jazz, funk, blues, blazing rock ‘n’ roll, John Popper, Saunders Sermons, Hendrix and Beatles tunes, and Luther and Cody wailing away for most of set two.

Luther with Phil Lesh & Friends at Terrapin Crossroads, 4/12/2013: The second of three sizzling, unusual shows that anticipated the fall PLF tour lineup has a 2-hour, 10-minute second set that includes Neil Young’s “Down by the River” and the Allstars’ “Mean Ol Wind Died Down.”

Luther with Umphrey’s McGee at Summer Camp, Chillicothe, IL, 5/26/2013: A typically sparkling Umphrey’s set at Summer Camp gets that much gnarlier with the additions of Luther and the one and only Taj Mahal midway through the set.

From the Vault:

NMAS with Al Kooper, Somerville, MA, 4/16/2000: A short show as opener for Galactic, but a hot one from the “old days” of NMAS, which at this point included Garry Burnside on second guitar. Bonus: Rock legend Al Kooper sits in throughout the gig on Hammond B3 organ.

[Published on: 10/15/13]

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