5 Minutes with Jimbo Mathus
Mississippi picker talks William Faulkner and Fat Possum Records
By Derek Van Wagner, 3:32PM, Thu. Jul. 18
With a sound that evokes the final works of Levon Helm, James “Jimbo” Mathus embodies the spirit of American music. Coming from a lineage of Italian bootleggers and Scottish fiddle players, the 46-year-old Mississippi native has spent the majority of his life on the road performing for every type of crowd imaginable.
Mathus earned the lion’s share of his notoriety in the early Nineties when he helped usher in the roots swing movement with the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Today, the multi-instrumentalist roots around his Delta background, having formed a band to play blues he’s dubbed “catfish music.”
I caught up with Jimbo about an hour before he reeled in the Continental Club last Friday night, July 12.