South Memphis String Band - Home Sweet Home


Home Sweet Home showcases their passion for the old timey tradition that is underscored by the group’s name: South Memphis String Band.

When Luther Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Jimbo Mathus got together to make music, it certainly wasn’t out of commercial consideration. This troika of roots-imbued musical pros coalesced through a shared vision and consuming passion for the music of their forebears, most notably the Mississippi Sheiks, Memphis Jug Band, Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers and other practitioners of pre-blues era roots sounds.

Home Sweet Home, their first album, showcases their passion for the old timey tradition that is underscored by the group’s name: South Memphis String Band. South Memphis, of course, is that rough and tumble area of the Bluff City extending from downtown to the Mississippi border, and beyond. It’s where Stax Records as well as, literally, hundreds of churches thrived. The sacred and profane, holy rolling and dice rolling, were cheek by jowl in old South Memphis and its modern day namesake reflects that ecumenicism quite brilliantly. For Luther, Alvin and Jimbo, South Memphis is more of a musical state of mind than a specific geographical location.

They’ve been called a “regional roots music supergroup” but the alliance of Dickinson (from the North Mississippi Allstars and, of late, the Black Crowes), Hart (the Grammy winner who is as equally adept at thrash rock as he is at country blues) and Mathus (of the Squirrel Nut Zippers) is more like three good friends just putting it down in a very traditional way. Mathus explained, “Luther, Youngblood Hart and myself have been musical co-conspirators for over a decade. It is only fitting that we should come together with acoustic instruments and perform Mississippi music.”

Michael Hoinski, writing in the Austin American-Statesman witnessed what’s so special about SMSB at a recent performance noting, “The American experience is the main unifier of this slap happy yet sureshot trio… Each player is principally a bluesman but also well-schooled in country, folk and gospel.”

When asked about the subject matter of SMSB’s repertoire, Alvin responds without hesitation, "Natural disasters, bushwackers, train songs…” Home Sweet Home’s tune stack with songs identified with Gus Cannon, Blind Willie Johnson, The Mississippi Sheiks, Carter Family underscores that thought with titles like “Jesse James,” “Bootlegger's Blues,” and “Bloody Bill.” The latter song, along with  “Worry  'bout Your Own Backyard” is an original but is reflective of the old timey ethos that, thanks to Luther, Alvin and Jimbo, continues. Whether you hold a degree in ethnomusicologist or are just a person who is moved by authentic acoustic American music, Home Sweet Home speaks your language, in beautifully measured tones. As Jimbo notes, “We decided the South Memphis String Band will never be in a hurry.”

More Information
Catalog Number MIR2021
Release Date Nov 22, 2015
Artist South Memphis String Band
Record Label Memphis International Records
Music Genre Blues
Explicit Content No
Format CD
Number of Discs 1
Box Lot Quantity 30
Track List
  1. Jesse James
  2. Deep Blue Sea
  3. Old Hen
  4. Worry Bout Your Own Backyard
  5. Things Is 'Bout Coming My Way
  6. Let Your Light Shine on Me
  7. The Carrier Line
  8. Bloody Bill Anderson
  9. Eighteeen Hammers
  10. Bootlegger's Blues
  11. Dixie Darling
  12. Home Sweet Home
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