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Jimbo Mathus

By Stephanie Smittle

9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.

Jimbo MathusJohn Driver

Jimbo Mathus — wild-eyed Mississippi mystic, founder of swing revivalist outfit Squirrel Nut Zippers, creative cohort to Little Rock pianist/producer Jim Dickinson — played a show at the White Water Tavern last December, a few days before Christmas. That morning, the venue posted a quote from Mathus on its Facebook page: “On all of my solo work,” Mathus said, “you’ll hear that same combo of honky tonk, blues and gospel. It’s sort of like ancestor worship on my part.” Those who know that catalog well won’t be shocked to know that Mathus’ latest, “Incinerator,” dabbles in that same blues/gospel/honky tonk triumvirate. They might be surprised, though, about some of those ancestors, and about just how far back in the family tree they go.

The title track, inspired by Mathus’ time working on petroleum barges in Louisiana in the 1980s, traces the fire curling from an industrial incinerator to its logical, chemical and cosmological conclusion. “The bright flames from the flare stacks of the refineries and chemical plants we’d pass made me think about the spirits of the dead,” he said in a press release accompanying the album. “I thought: After we die, our energy is released like that burn-off, and then, where does it go?” Mathus plays the album in its entirety, with “Incinerator” producers Bronson Tew and Matt Patton as part of the band.


June 1, 2019
2:00 am
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White Water Tavern
2500 W 7th St.
Little Rock, AR 72205
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(501) 375-8400