James "Jimbo" Mathus, founding member of the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Squirrel Nut Zippers, has been working with the Knockdown Society as a side project for a few years, and as the Zippers' schedule h

James "Jimbo" Mathus, founding member of the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Squirrel Nut Zippers, has been working with the Knockdown Society as a side project for a few years, and as the Zippers' schedule has become less hectic, he has devoted more energy to this hardcore blues group. Mathus is a Mississippi native, and what he's got going with Knockdown Society is a rugged, juke-joint blues sound very much in the spirit of Mississippi hill-country boogie and such practitioners of the form as the late Junior Kimbrough. Mathus excels at this music. With the great Jim Dickinson producing and his sons, Cody and Luther Dickinson, sitting in, Mathus cuts loose a batch of songs notable for their raw, tune-up-and-get-it feel. Sample the slow-drag number "Spare Change," the superlative grind of "Take a Ride" and "Chicken Town," and the full-tilt, backwoods boogie of "Drinkin' Antiseptic" for maximum buzz.—PVV

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