When it comes to music in the hills of north Mississippi, there are two family names any blues fan already knows: Burnside and Dickinson. Blues singer R.L. Burnside has spawned a generation of talented offspring, while studio producer and pianist Jim Dickinson lent his seed to the melt-the-slide-guitar madness of the North Mississippi Allstars.
Hill Country Revue is the natural progression of the dirty blues sound which evolved from that region. While Allstars guitarist Luther Dickinson takes time out from that group to lend his chops to the Black Crowes, little brother/drummer Cody has put together an ensemble of his homeland's best, including fellow Allstar Chris Chew on bass and R.L.'s youngest son, Garry Burnside, on guitar. They're joined by singer/harp player Dan Coburn and guitarist Kirk Smithhart.
"It's not a side project," says Cody. "It's more of an extension of what we were already doing. I handpicked the best guys I know, and we're hitting it pretty hard, considering we're just getting started."
He's not kidding. The Revue has yet to tour or release an official album. Nonetheless, their song "Alice Mae" hit number one on Sirius Radio's Jam Bands channel earlier this month.
"That was a huge motivator and great for morale," Cody says. "I had the doors locked to my house for a month trying to finish that thing, so that feels good, definitely."
Another song, "You Can Make It Don't Give Up," kicks off with the double slide feel of a Dickey Betts tune.
Although they've played a few festivals this summer, Hill Country Revue's Pour House gig this week marks the start of their first tour, a two-month jaunt that takes them to every corner of the lower 48.
"We love playing Charleston. We always have a blast," Cody says. "The people at the Pour House have just been so cool, and one of the first to really respond to the band, so that's where we wanted to start." —Stratton Lawrence
Hill Country Revue performs at the Pour House (1977 Maybank Hwy., 843-571-4343) at 9 p.m. on Thurs. Aug. 28. Admission is $14 ($12 adv.). Visit www.myspace.com/hillcountryrevue and www.charlestonpourhouse.com for more.