The “Incinerator” tour with Drive By Trucker’s bassist Matt Patton.
Jimbo Mathus has blazed a singular path as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and shaman for 40 years, recording and releasing more than 300 songs that are a testament to his hoodoo craftsmanship and to the sounds, sights and spirits of his inspirations in the deep South. His new album, Incinerator, which debuted is the epitome of that art — an incendiary reflection of his world in music. Mathus describes the 11 songs on Incinerator as “a huge tapestry of my experiences, hard work and dedication to living a creative life. I really took stock of what I do and why I do it … why I weave stories and dreams and visions I have into songs. And I tried to squeeze every bit of meaning out of every note and every word I wrote and recorded. It’s impossible to separate this album from me. This is who I am.”Incinerator was recorded in a burst of inspiration, with all but overdubs cut in just two days in Water Valley, Mississippi’s Dial Back Sound. Surprisingly, Mathus, who has produced dozens of albums, decided to hand the controls to Bronson Tew and Drive-By Truckers bassist Matt Patton (with Mathus for the Sutter Creek Performance), who co-own Dial Back, and opted to play piano instead of his trademark guitar.
The late Memphis producer Jim Dickinson once called Jimbo Mathus “the singing voice of Huck Finn.” Outside the South, Mathus is likely known as the ringleader of the hyper-ragtime outfit Squirrel Nut Zippers. In his native Mississippi and throughout the South, however, Mathus is the prolific songwriter of born-in-the-bone Southern music, the torchbearer for Deep South mythology and culture. Think Delta highways, bowling-pin Budweisers and “innerplanetary honky-tonk” for the masses. Jimbo Mathus remains a rising-star powerhouse that feeds the soul. As Dickinson would say, ‘If you don’t like this, there is seriously something wrong with you.’”
In addition to producing albums for J.D. Wilkes, Shinyribs, Ironing Board Sam, and many others, Mathus has a discography as a solo artist and bandleader that’s more than 20 titles deep — the last seven for Big Legal Mess Records and Fat Possum. He is also a member of the South Memphis String Band, with Luther Dickinson and Alvin Youngblood Hart, and his many session credits include recordings with Buddy Guy, Samantha Fish, and Amy LaVere. These days, when Mathus is at home in Mississippi’s hill country and Delta, he also leads a local blues band called Dirty Crooks.