The Mississippi Hill Country has been home to many great bluesman, men like Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, Robert Belfour and Fred McDowell. Holly Springs, a tiny town of tumbledown homes, rusty pickups, and ghosts of Jim Crow, draws famous musicians from around the world (U2, Dave Stewart, Robert Plant, The Black Keys) to pay homage. Although few of the original Hill Country musicians are alive today, their ancestral energy pulses through Cedric Burnside, an artist whose raw mystical joy transcends what we know as “the blues”.
With a pool of 46 talented grandchildren to choose from, legendary bluesman R.L. Burnside chose 13 year old Cedric as his apprentice. Together, they traveled the globe, introducing the world to Mississippi Hill Country Blues and catapulting Cedric to the international stage. Twenty four years later, he’s acclaimed as one of the best drummers in the world and a much sought after songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist and was a 2015 Grammy Nominee for Best Blues Album.
Cedric lives in a pair of doublewide trailers in Holly Springs, fountainhead of Mississippi Hill Country Blues, where he supports his family with earnings from his international tours and almost preserves the legacy of his ancestors, “keeping it alive”.
Born With It is Cedric’s story: the story of growing up in a povertystricken backcountry hamlet where the unique combination of rhythm, unconventional song structures and something known as “the hypnotic boogie” are as much a part of the environment as the warm, damp air. Here, in Holly Springs, a music tradition rooted in West Africa has its home. “The blues,” Cedric declares, “aren’t a lament. They aren’t a guilt trip about wrongdoing. They’re a way to cope when life is hard, and a way to rise above it and find peace.”
Cedric’s uncommon gift is to open a door to our hearts–a door that we never knew existed.
To learn more about Cedric, please visit cedricburnside.net.