Luther Dickinson will pay tribute to his father—the legendary producer Jim Dickinson—with the new album Onward and Upwards. Just three days after the death of his father, Dickinson opened the doors to the family’s Zebra Ranch studio in Independence, Mississippi and recorded a selection of gospel songs and hymns over the course of a few hours. In addition to Dickinson, the album features a number of musicians close to the famed producer: Sid Selvidge (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Crosthwait (washboard, vocals), Jimbo Mathus (guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals) formerly of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and of the South Memphis String Band, Steve Selvidge (guitar, dobro, vocals) and Paul Taylor (washtub bass) and Shannon McNally (vocals). The musicians quickly dubbed themselves The Sons of Mudboy, a homage to James Dickinson’s rock band Mudboy and the Neutrons. Both Selvidge and Crosthwait are veterans of that famed group.
A note from the band reads, “inspired by Dickinson pater familias, Luther and company duplicated the sound of mid-Century era reel-to-reel filed recordings, using only two microphones plugged directly into a two-track ½ inch tape recorder: no mixing after the fact. Ardent’s John Fry mastered the tracks directly from the two track to the mother stamper from which (vinyl) pressings were sourced. Most of the songs were nailed in just one take with just a few exceptions and those were completed in no more than three takes. “That’s just how we do it,“ Luther muses.”