By Phillip Smith; April 24, 2010
Home Sweet Home, the debut release by The South Memphis String Band pays serious homage to early twentieth century Mississippi delta string and jug bands. Channeling the likes of Gus Cannon, Missisppi John Hurt, and The Memphis Jug Band , musicians Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes), Alvin “Youngblood” Hart and Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers) share the common experience of being good friends, and having family connections and/or roots in the Memphis and North Mississippi area. With an arsenal of instruments which include guitars, banjos, harmonicas, steel guitars, and mandolins, The South Memphis String Band helps the listener transgress to a slower and simpler time.
Sometimes, music can trigger the same feelings and emotions one experiences with ‘comfort foods’. This album, I have realized, has become one of my comfort foods. Home Sweet Home is a melting pot, taking tried and true ingredients such as delta blues, gospel and folk music and slow simmering it into a Sunday family dinner. I love the fact that The South Memphis String Band is consistent in style with each of its songs, yet allowing each to shine on its own accord.
This is true. Almost every morning, there is a song stuck in my head upon awakening. Several times, that song has been “Deep Blue Sea”. It‘s infectious. Other cuts deserving mention are “Bootleggers Blues” and “Old Hen”. Both are a little country-fried and dripping with authenticity. Listening to the vocals dance around the banjo in “Old Hen”, just puts a big smile on my face. I relished “Worry Bout Your Own Backyard” as well, for its bluesy vocals and its wise lyrics, “Stop worrying about the whole world, and start worrying about your own backyard.”.
Home Sweet Home is a soulful experience and with each listen of “Let Your Light Shine On Me”, I want to clap my hands and yell ‘Hallelujah!’
Rating = 4/5