Off the Dial
The Mississippi Sheiks were a depression era blues band long forgotten by the general public. Vancouver guitarist and record producer Steve Dawson thought it was time to bring the Sheiks back to life. So, after a few years of reaching out to folk, country, blues and jazz singers and guitarists from across North America, Dawson pulled together Things About Comin’ My Way: A Tribute to the Mississippi Sheiks.
The album is a hodgepodge of both well-known and little known musicians from all over the continent: west coast and east coast, north and south. They came from different musical backgrounds and different points in their careers to be a part of the Mississippi Sheiks revival. The result is the old mixed with the new: your traditional blues played up with tracks that give the classic sound a more modern vibe.
Artists on the album like The North Mississippi Allstars and The Carolina Chocolate Drops stick to a very vintage, blues sound with plucking banjo and acoustic guitar, classic southern fiddle, and even the occasional washboard in the background. Others put a little twist on the traditional blues sound. Vancouver vocalist Ndidi Onukwulu applied her soulful, jazz style to “Things About Comin’ My Way” and New York based Madeleine Peyroux showcased her sultry tone with “Please Baby”. These smoother, more modern sounding tracks balance the toe-tapping twang of banjo heavy songs.
There are some pretty hefty names on the list of contributing artists. Madeleine Peyroux, as mentioned above, makes an appearance, as well as music legends John Hammond and Bruce Cockburn with tracks “Stop and Listen” and “Honey Babe Let the Deal Go Down”. Even the Mississippi Sheiks tribute creator Steve Dawson puts his musical touch on the album with the country-blues song “Lonely One in this Town”.
The album is a great reminder that the music that came generations before us is just as good as it was seventy years ago. Things About Comin’ My Way: A Tribute to the Mississippi Sheiks is the type of nostalgic album you sit back, put your feet up, and just enjoy.