Stony Plain Records announces a March 26 release date for New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Vol. 2, the second edition of music from roots “super group,” New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers: Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus, the late Jim Dickinson, and North Mississippi Allstars members Luther Dickinson and Cody Dickinson (just nominated for a GRAMMY in the Contemporary Blues category for their Up and Rolling album). Recorded at the Zebra Ranch Recording Studio in Coldwater, Mississippi, the 11 blues-drenched tracks on New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Vol. 2 give fans even more bang for their buck than the first volume’s 10 tracks of sublime roots music. New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Vol 1, released in September of 2020, was greeted with universal acclaim and became a Top 20 Billboard and Top 10 Living Blues chart album.
As on the first volume, New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Vol. 2 crosses the generations of new blues-rockers and classic blues statesmen. It is a testament to the great experience and talent of these esteemed performers that they could casually conjure a recording of this quality out of the ether in a casual jam session — sounding as if you are right there in the room with them with between-song banter and commentary, the classic structures of the blues, being pulled together and teased apart by some of the most award-decorated members of the blues elite.
The New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers originated back in November, 2007, when musician brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson sat down for a guitar jam with ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers leader Jimbo Mathus, along with blues greats Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart and the late Memphis pianist, producer and all-around musical stylist Jim Dickinson gathered for a roots music extravaganza recording under the group name of the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers.
For more than 12 years, those recordings’ existence was mentioned only obscurely in interviews, and referenced as a great old-school recording by those few witnesses. It was recorded live off-the-floor over several days, where the musicians all sat in one big circle in the studio and played quietly amongst the microphones, taking turns singing out in the room and improvising on the spot. Since Jim Dickinson’s passing in the summer of 2009, the recordings just hung out in the archives – waiting. When Stony Plain founder Holger Petersen heard about the sessions in 2019 and expressed his enthusiasm to release it, Luther Dickinson and his partner/engineer Kevin Houston finished the production of the albums.
“I was backstage at the Edmonton Blues Festival visiting with my old friends Charlie and Henri Musselwhite,” recalls Holger Petersen about the project’s genesis. “We were catching up and I told Charlie I was proud to have worked with Colin Linden and Luther Dickinson on a recent Stony Plain release, Amour. Charlie brought up the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers sessions and that got the ball got rolling. He sent me the song list the next day and Luther sent me rough mixes shortly after that. I’ve been a longtime fan of everyone involved and have appreciated Jim Dickinson’s work and importance.”
The New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Vol. 2 repertoire is a mix of righteous takes on such musical chestnuts as Doug Sahm’s “She’s About a Mover,” Junior Wells’ “Messin’ with the Kid” and Jimmy Reed’s “Can’t Stand to See You Go,” sidled comfortably alongside original songs that make for a beautifully soulful listening experience.