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Squirrel Nut Zippers at the Magic Bag, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019

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You won't find Jimbo Mathus slacking, at all, these days.

On one hand the Mississippi-based musician and bandleader is on the road with Squirrel Nut Zippers, the eclectic group he founded back in 1993 and resurrected in 2016, releasing its first new album in 18 years, "Beast of Burgundy," last year. But Mathus, 51, maintains a solo career as well, with his own "Incinerator" just out.

So find the guy and you find music -- just pouring out of him, really. And nobody is happier about that then Mathus himself...

The Squirrel Nut Zippers Mathus leads now is entirely different than the group that caused a stir with 1996's platinum-certified "Hot." But Mathus says by phone that he feels it's for the better. "This is an amazing band now. The potential for what we can do is limitless. It's a nine-piece band, and everbody sings, everybody plays all the instruments, everybody is a bandleader in their own right. It's just an incredibly collaborative group, and I know there's so much more we can do."

Since bringing SNZ back to recording with "Beast of Burgundy," the group has continued to record, most recently during Mathus' residencies in New Orleans. "I think on 'Beast of Burgundy' we pretty much showed everybody we can be the Zippers they grew up on, the sound of concoction -- we did that for sure. It was a great record and fits right into our catlog. Now i"m looking for a way to just morph it a little bit, figure out a bath that can incorporate some different styles and different emotional moments. We're lucky that we have an audience that's very open-minded and seems to trust us enough to check out what we're doing, even if it's a little different."

On the solo front, Mathus calls his "Incinerator" album "like a dream journal or something, a real peek inside my psyche for sure." But with guests such as Andrew Bird and John Hiatt's daughter Lilly, and Drive-By Truckers' Mike Patton producing, Mathus "was able to go in adn just try some things I've wanted to try for awhile, knowing they were probably going to work out. You've got to kind of let go, and that's a hard thing for artists to do. The worst thing you can do as an artist is to try and producer your own (recordings), 'cause you need people to tell you when to stop. So that's what I did on this, and there was a lot of trust and comfort in the studio that really helped it turn out great."

Squirrel Nut Zippers perform Sunday, April 14, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors at 8 p.m. $35. 248-544-1991 or themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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