may 2017

Cody (left) and Luther Dickinson.

The brothers Dickinson return with a grinding blues ’n’ roll homage to their home turf’s tough sound, spiked by slicing slide guitar from Luther Dickinson and guest Kenny Brown.

Although the North Mississippi Allstars have been making music as a band and touring the world for 21 years—Prayer for Peace, arriving June 2, will be their 17th full-length album—the group’s feet have always remained planted firmly in the soil of the Magnolia State’s hill country. That’s where Luther and Cody Dickinson’s father, the famed producer, pianist, songwriter, and raconteur Jim Dickinson, relocated his family after decades in Los Angeles specifically for the benefit of his sons’ musical education.

Obviously they learned well—forging a highly original sound from the foundation of the region’s legendary musicians, including R.L. Burnside, Othar Turner, Junior Kimbrough, and, from an earlier generation, Fred McDowell. That sounds drives “Run Rooster Run,” an exclusive Premier Guitar preview from Prayer for Peace. Luther Dickinson’s fat signature slide guitar grinds over his brother’s powerhouse drumming—which manages to propel the song like a freight train while still threatening, like the best Mississippi juke joint music, to jump the rails.

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Montréal builder Jean-René Gosselin serves up a convincing spring reverb emulator with some intriguing twists.

Built by Jean-René Gosselin in Montréal, Quebec, the Moby Depth spring-reverb emulator is driven by a Belton BTDR-3 chip and includes unusual features such as a side-loop for inserting a chain of effects that’ll only be heard when Moby is activated, and a regeneration circuit governed by a toggle and a single knob. Other controls: reverb level, decay, tone, and wet/dry mix knobs.

Although certain settings can make Moby sound more like a slapback echo, with the right mix and decay settings it yields a nice spring approximation that runs the gamut from subtle/traditional to insanely “underwater”—in short, offering much of what surf and outboard-reverb nuts crave. Gosselin’s design also deserves kudos for a carefully tuned tone knob that yields warmth or splashiness, minus the treble overload of many spring emulators with wide-ranging, hard-to-dial-in tone controls. And the bonus regen feature (essentially like a delay’s feedback function) adds psychedelic, lo-fi sound smudges that greatly expand Moby’s mojo.

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