Jimbo Mathus is getting back to his roots with his new album “Dark Night of the Soul,” and is kicking off his debut release party in Baton Rouge at Mud and Water on Friday, March 7 at 9 PM.
Mathus, who was formally with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, says he chose Baton Rouge because he has good support here. “I seem to have good support down there. I’ve been doing Baton Rouge as a regular. It’s a town that has a good music scene there and a good music crowd for me there.” Mathus commented, “That Mud and Water club is just a cool club, I love it. Really looking forward to hitting it again.”
Mathus describes his music as catfish music saying, “It’s the Southern stew; a mixture of Southern styles, gospel, blues, rock ‘n’ roll. Not really one thing.” Mathus says he’s predominantly a songwriter and writes his own stuff. “So you can’t say, Jimbo Mathus band is Zydeco, or it’s blues, or it’s country because it’s a mixture of everything. I call it catfish music. Catfish is a real Southern dish and there ain’t nothing wrong with serving catfish.”
Mathus said he wants to express a lot of stuff on “Dark Night of the Soul.”
“I’m expressing a lot of pretty heavy subjects. I write all the time, I’m writing through events that are going on through the world and in personal events, and I’m witnessing. Last year, terrorist type events, mass murders, ecological disasters, tsunamis and whatnot — and a lot of instability in the world. I express whatever I see around me in the world. There’s a lot of positive vibes and a lot of love on that record but there’s also a lot of heavy subjects like capitalism, addictions of different kinds, it’s an addictive society we live in. I express what I see in the world around me,” he said.
Mathus said people, events, books and, sometimes, conversations inspire him, “I’ve been writing since I was 16, it’s an ingrained part of me. It’s not something I do as a hobby. Pretty much everything inspires me, good and bad.”
“There’s a little bit of something for everybody. I’ve gotten a lot of support from Louisiana for my music over the years. Be it from the Squirrel Nut Zippers on up. I come from the traditional, there’s a lot of music in the home. I started playing when I was six years old. My father and my family band, music was a central thing. Music is supposed to be an inclusive thing, that’s how I was trained in it. It’s supposed to be something everybody enjoys. I grew up doing the folk music of Mississippi. That’s the blues, the country and the gospel. I’m not trying to just come out of left field and shock and appall people, I’m trying to make something that people want to listen to. That’s how I grew up,” he said.
Mathus called his album “Dark Night of the Soul” a complete 180 compared to his work with the Squirrel Nut Zippers.
“The Squirrel Nut Zippers is Jazz based on 30s, 40s, traditional Louisiana and Mississippi Jazz … The only similarity is that it’s American music and it involved roots of American music,” he said. “I just really went back to my roots and that’s where I’ve been staying at.”
Mathus invites everyone to check out his Facebook page, “See what’s going on, and come see the show!”