“Grew up in Mississippi like a good boy should,” sings Jimbo Mathus on the title track to his new album Jimmy the Kid. Mathus is a reformed (mostly) juvenile delinquent who on record and stage deftly incorporates the richly diverse Southern sounds he heard growing up around Clarksdale, Miss.
He masterminded the hyper-ragtime, jump blues act Squirrel Nut Zippers, something that started as a fun little project but eventually sold a million-plus CDs in the 1990s. Since then, Mathus has released recordings of his own in a style he rightfully describes as Mississippi Music. He has stayed busy with numerous side-projects, as well, working with Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Elvis Costello and Buddy Guy. Mathus played guitar on Guy’s critically acclaimed 2001 album Sweet Tea — which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart. And can be heard performing rhythm and slide guitar on the blues master’s Grammy-winning 2003 record Blues Singer. Mathus also served as guitarist/bandleader for Guy on tour.
Mathus started doing Mississippi Music professionally in between Squirrel Nut Zipper projects.
Mathus excels as a songwriter, producer, recording artist and at spreading the gospel of Mississippi Music in concert.
Mathus’current band, The Tri-State Coalition, features solid talent cut from the same Delta cloth: Tri-State bassist Justin Showah and keyboardist Eric Carlton are also from Mississippi. Guitarist Matt Pierce hails from Arkansas. Missouri native and drummer Austin Marshall rounds out the group, whose sound, Mathus describes as “inner-planetary honky-tonk. Basically I’m using a lot more of white country, folk, and southern rock influences. It’s a great Southern band that is versatile to the extreme.” Armed with a brand new batch of songs, Mathus and Co. are ready to bring Tri-State Coalition to the people.
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