Jimbo Mathus with Caleb Caudle
JIMBO MATHUS has blazed a singular path as a singer, songwriter, guitarist,
producer and shaman for 40 years. Founder of New Orleans swing band Squirrel
Nut Zippers, he has recorded and released more than 300 songs. A body of work
that is a testament to his hoodoo craftsmanship and to the sounds, sights and
spirits of his inspirations in the Deep South.
In the mid-1990s, Mathus' frequent trips back to Mississippi led to his meeting
Jim and Luther Dickinson, which resulted in Mathus writing and recording "Play
Songs for Rosetta", a benefit project to aid Mathus' childhood nanny, Rosetta
Patton, daughter of the near mythical Mississippi musician Charley Patton. This
rekindled Mathus' interest in Mississippi music and set him on a new path. During
this time, Mathus also began recording and producing on his own.
Simultaneously, Mathus was gaining recognition for his blues guitar knowledge
through his work with blues legend Buddy Guy. Mathus toured with Guy off and
on from 2001 to 2003. He also recorded with Guy on his album Sweet Tea, and the
Grammy winning album Blues Singer.
Mathus has performed hundreds of shows in the deep South, mostly in
Mississippi. He became a regular and favorite performer at Morgan Freeman's
Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale. Several of his songs have found their
way into film and television, most notably “Hiway at Night” and “Fallen Angel”
(House of Cards), “Haunted John” (Shameless) and “Butcher Bird” (Ray
His latest album Incinerator, which debuted in Spring 2020 on Mississippi’s Big
Legal Mess Records, is the epitome of that art - an incendiary reflection of his
world in music. Incinerator was recorded in a burst of inspiration in Water Valley,
Mississippi’s Dial Back Sound. Produced by Bronson Tew and Matt Patton,
bassist of Drive by Truckers.
In 2021, a collaboration with Andrew Bird led to the album These 13. Released to
critical acclaim and high praise, the duo were once bandmates in Squirrel Nut
Zippers. “Up until meeting Jimbo, all my musical heroes were dead,” Andrew Bird
said in a statement. “Jimbo was anything but and just oozed musicality of a kind I
thought was extinct."