The Wandering gathers five traditionally-minded artists from Memphis and North Mississippi and features the string work of Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes) and a quartet of distinctive female voices—Shannon McNally, Amy LaVere, Valerie June, and Sharde Thomas, erstwhile leader of the Rising Star Fife and Drum band.
The Wandering’s first album Go On Now You Can’t Stay Here will be released on May 8th and the group will tour during the month of May.
The women are all accomplished musicians, and it was actually for this reason that Luther initially gathered them together.
“The idea for the band came together one day when I saw a picture of Valerie playing the banjo, which led me to think about Amy playing upright bass, which led me to think about Sharde playing drums and Shannon playing guitar,” says Luther. “So I called them up and arranged a session. We had no idea what to expect and I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it couldn’t have been lovelier.”
The record was cut at the Dickinson family’s Zebra Ranch studio in Coldwater, Mississippi in just three days, and Luther recalls that the music fell readily into place.
“Everyone got along well and as soon as we started playing we all felt that it was special. Amy and Sharde have the coolest pocket together and Valerie’s banjo parts are the magic ingredient. Shannon played rhythm guitar on everything, and I played guitars, mandolin and banjolin.
“I love having Sharde’s Mississippi cane fife paired with banjo, mandolin, and upright bass. It sonically represents the culture of the modern Southern folk experience.”
That experience is also represented in the group’s repertoire, which includes traditional standards and classic Americana from Southern-born artists including Robert Johnson, Kris Kristofferson, Little Willie John, Ray Charles, and Sid Selvidge.
Luther Dickinson and The Wandering will be touring during the month of May.