North Mississippi Allstars

Polaris (Tone-Cool)

ACL Fest Record Reviews

North Mississippi Allstars

Polaris (Tone-Cool) The North Mississippi Allstars' debut, Shake Hands With Shorty, and sophomore effort, 51 Phantom, deserved the critic's choice status both garnered. Their loping Mississippi Hill Country blues is tough to resist in the hands of pedigreed musicians Luther and Cody Dickinson and bassist Chris Chew. With the addition of Duwayne Burnside on guitar, the band's third lap in the studio ought to be right on course; instead Polaris is an uneven though ultimately satisfying finish to their triple crown. They sparkle on "Meet Me in the City," "Never in All My Days," and "All Along," and shine on "Bad Bad Pain," urban blues at its best. Yet while "Conan" starts strong, it flattens into jam-band land before returning to form. The touted but sappy "One to Grow On" features Oasis' Noel Gallagher buried in the mix, and the frightening specter of California rock is evident in "Time for the Sun to Rise." This may not be the best direction for the Allstars, but it allows the Dickinson brothers to explore, much as their father Jim did in both performance (Delaney & Bonnie, Aretha Franklin) and production (Big Star, Replacements). What makes Polaris work in the end is the potential, the promise that says NMAS are Southern rock for the modern age, right down to the pristinely Allman-flavored "Be So Glad." In another 10 years, the Dickinsons will be unstoppable. Just get those ya-yas out, boys; the blues can't wait that long. (Saturday, 6pm, Heineken stage)


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle