The Cedric Burnside Project will be playing the Next Stage Theater on Saturday, November 12. (Tickets at http://www.nextstagearts.org). This is the real Mississippi Hill Country Blues updated by two direct descendants of Mississippi Hill Country blues royalty. Drummer/guitarist Cedric Burnside is the grandson of the late great blues singer/guitarist R.L. Burnside, and spent his early years on the road playing drums for his grandfather. His partner in the Project is guitarist Trenton Ayers, the son of the late great blues singer/guitarist Junior Kimbrough, whose Mississippi juke joint appeared in Robert Palmer’s celebrated film “Deep Blues”. Together they create a modern version of Hill Country Blues that looks to the future while inheriting the odd, crackling rhythms of its roots. Playing festivals across the world, they have been greeted with unbridled enthusiasm, and their recordings have earned them a Grammy Award nomination and multiple Blues Music Awards.
A Personal Reminscence
Having known R.L. Burnside from playing guitar behind him on New England tours in the 1980s, this upcoming show has a special significance for me. Burnside spent time at my apartment and I visited his home in Holly Springs, Mississippi. During that visit, R.L. and Big Jack Johnson took me down to Junior Kimbrough’s juke joint, where I was introduced to a number of blues artists whom I had heard many times on recordings, including Frank Frost, Sam Carr and Mojo Buford. Junior’s place looked like a big tin airplane hanger, and the atmosphere was as loose as somebody’s basement birthday party. But the music was the lowdown, deep blues. Part way through the evening Frank Frost and R.L. took me behind the juke joint and plied me with my first tastes of real moonshine.