By Andy J. Gordon
The first time you hear Hill Country Revue, you will think they sound like the North Mississippi Allstars. That is a very good thing, and makes sense, since Cody Dickinson formed the new band with Chris Chew. Cody and Chris make up two thirds of the NMAS. Hill Country Revue’s debut album, “Make a Move,” is a blend of southern rock, blues, soul, and swampy funk guaranteed to get your body moving.
When Cody’s brother Luther, the other founding member of NMAS, joined the Black Crowes, Cody enlisted bassist Chris, vocalist Daniel Robert Coburn, Memphis slide guitar wizard Kirk Smithhart, and drummer Edward ‘Hot’ Cleveland to form the new band. Cody plays guitar with this group, a departure from his gig behind the skins with NMAS. Make no mistake; Cody can bring it with the six string. His father, legendary Memphis musician and producer Jim Dickinson, taught Cody how to play when he was a toddler.
Having good genes extends to the songwriting of Garry Burnside. The youngest son of blues guitar icon R. L. Burnside, and a fine musician himself, wrote most of the songs on the CD. Garry has the Mississippi hill country blues coursing through his veins and it really comes out in the music. Tunes like “Georgia Women,” “Ramblin’,” and “Hill Country Revue” will really get your feet stomping. The CD closes with “Growing Up in Mississippi,” which sounds like something Duane Allman and Dicky Betts would have been proud to record.
If you love the blues-heavy, double-guitar attack of groups like the Allman Brothers Band, you will dig Hill Country Revue. These guys have the genes, the chops, and the energy to keep any blues rock lover happy. Having seen NMAS in concert, I suspect a Hill Country Revue live show is even more exhilarating than their recorded music. You will have the chance to find out when they perform as part of the Long Beach Blues Festival at Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach, CA. September 5 to 6, 2009; check out the whole lineup at http://www.jazzandblues.org/events/lbbf/2009/microsite/. And when you go to the annual festival, which you definitely should if you love the blues, be sure to check them out and bring your dancing shoes.
Official Site: www.hillcountryrevue.com
Photos courtesy Razor & Tie; group shot by Todd Routh.