North Mississippi Allstars return with “What You Gonna Do?,” a funky, revved-up take on the vintage gospel song originally found on the Staple Singers’ 1965 album Freedom Highway. The new track, appropriately featuring special guest Mavis Staples on vocals, is the first to surface from the Allstars’ new studio album Up and Rolling, which will be released on October 4th via New West Records.
Led by brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson, the band recorded their 10th studio album at the Zebra Ranch, a family studio opened by the Dickinsons’ late father Jim, who produced albums by Big Star and the Replacements and was a session player for the Rolling Stones. In addition to Staples, the new album also features appearances by Jason Isbell, Duane Betts, and Cedric Burnside.
The record was partially inspired by some recently unearthed photographs taken by Texas photographer Wyatt McSpadden, who visited the Dickinson brothers right around the time they formed the Allstars in 1996 to document the hill country blues scene in Mississippi. The images inspired the Dickinsons to revisit the sound of regionally renowned artists like Otha Turner and Junior Kimbrough that were hugely influential on their band.
“The images stopped me in my tracks and blew my mind,” Luther Dickinson said in a statement. “The music that changed our lives was captured in these photographs. Cody and I wanted to set the music free and record an album to accompany these photographs illustrating what Mississippi music sounded like in 1996 — and what it sounds like now.”
The band will launch an extensive fall tour in support of Up and Rolling on release day (October 4th) in Portland, Oregon, at the Aladin Theater, concluding the trek through November 16th at Cohoes Music Hall in Cohoes, New York. The band next performs in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the U.S. National Whitewater Center on July 4th.
North Mississippi Allstars Up and Rolling track list:
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