Born into poverty in the Hill Country of Mississippi, some of Cedric Burnside’s earliest memories were of watching wide-eyed as his grandfather, the late great bluesman R.L. Burnside, hosted raucous house parties jamming with Cedric’s father and uncles into the wee hours along with his many cousins. By the time he turned 13, Cedric had started drumming with his grandfather — Big Daddy as he calls him — in local juke joints. Eventually he would take over the gig full time from his father and later worked as a drummer for hire for a wide range of artists. Cedric went on to pick up the guitar, sing and write his own songs, tapping into his extensive musical roots. Hill country blues is a unique style, free from the rules of 12-bar blues. The musicians find a groove and work it until they feel like making a change; rocking and boogying with off kilter rhythms that feel on the edge of careening off the rails but always landing back in the groove, a barely controlled, glorious chaos. R.L. Burnside was a master at this, and Cedric was a studious disciple. Cedric’s 2018 album, Benton County Relic, was nominated for Grammy, his second nomination for tradition blues album. The songs feature signature Hill Country blues with fuzzed out guitars, percussive acoustic and a foot stomping beat. Cedric writes about what he knows, growing up poor without running water, living a typical day, trying to stay cool in the face of aggression, convincing a girl he digs to stay. Cedric’s live sets tend to be half acoustic, half electric and fully mesmerizing.
Biography by Sean Myers