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Jimbo Mathus
KNOCKDOWN SOUTH
(Knockdown South)

Those who know Mathus only through his earlier band, Squirrel Nut Zippers, may be surprised by the aggressive edge on the guitars and the unfettered blues/soul direction on this Mississippi nativeís first album on his own label. But anybody whoís heard R.L. Burnside or Junior Kimbrough will at once recognize the cadences of the hypnotic "Crazy íBout You," the boogie stomp "State Line Women," and many of the other tunes as the work of a legitimate torchbearer. Mathus knows that the blues is more than shuffles and lyric clichés, and he runs that notion as far as he can while staying true to the genreís emotional core. "Boogie Music" isnít just the stuff great jam bands are made of; itís a manifesto as he sings "All my life/Crazy íbout boogie music/Itís good for the soul." The disc features contributions from other up-and-coming new-blues stylists including the Black Diamond Heavies (just signed to Fat Possum) and R.L.ís drummer and grandson, Cedric Burnside. Mostly, of course, itís a showcase for Mathusís free-form lyrics and wide-ranging guitar. Also for his new studio in a former radio station in Clarksdale, where he generated this discís warm vintage tones and engineered Elvis Costelloís latest disc.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI


Issue Date: June 17 - 23, 2005
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