Stripping down the classic '70s southern-jam model and reaching way back into the blues' country past, the North Mississippi All Stars are keepers of a flame that has heated up rock since the ballsiest moments of the British Invasion (think raves worthy of early Stones and Yardbirds). Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson (guitar and drums, respectively) -- the sons of celebrated roots-rock sideman-producer Jim Dickinson -- take full advantage of their lineage and proximity to the deep blues. There's little need to pull licks off discs when you're hanging out with Mississippi blues elite, including the now-departed master Junior Kimbrough, as the All Stars did during their formative years in the mid-'90s.
The band's third release, 2003's Polaris, emphasized original material, representing a major step forward either in fashioning an identity or abandoning it, depending on your bias. If it's the latter, you should find solace in last fall's Electric Blue Watermelon, which finds the Dickinson boys and their bassist and high school buddy Chris Chew waist-deep in muddy river water.