Luther Dickinson and the Sisters of the Strawberry Moon (from the album Solstice on New West Records)
As a band leader, Luther Dickinson found his job fairly easy, believing that ‘most of the work was getting the spark lit. It was sort of like throwing a party’. Solsticegathers songs collected over a four-day period at the Dickinson family stronghold, Zebra Ranch Studio in Birmingham, Alabama, and marks the debut of the musical collective, Luther Dickinson and the Sisters of the Strawberry Moon. The band is an A-list gathering of vocalists as Luther Dickinson hands over the microphone, producing and backing the singers with his guitar work. Birds of Chicago were part of the Sisters crew, opening Solsticewith a cut from their catalog, “Superlover”, and adding to the Luther Dickinson and the Sister of the Strawberry Moon for “Till It’s Gone” and “Kathy”. Recorded mostly live in the studio, Solsticebrings in guests Alvin Youngblood Hart, Rev. Charles Hodges (Al Green, Willie Mitchell) on keyboards and fiddler Lillie Mae.
For a theme, Solsticecelebrates the earth and its inhabitants as The Como Mamas bring in songs of the spirit with “Search Me” while Shardé Thomas offers inspiration over a rhythm-driven groove in “We Made It” , caffeinating a second line beat and offering a hand on “Fly with Me”. Solsticeliberally borrows the magic found in its seasonal occurrences, becoming a voice for the creatures of the earth when Amy Helm whispers “Sing to Me” to the spirits. Amy Helm embraces her own unique self with “Hallelujah (I’m a Dreamer)” while an after-dark noir mood can be felt is in misty rhythms of “The Night is Still Young” as she coaxes out the evening’s potential with a seductive purr.
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