Chip off the old blues block: Ce­cil Burn­side,

Mojo (UK) - - Contents - An­drew Perry

C“Eight bars, 12 bars… with this mu­sic, there’s no bars, you know?” CEDRIC BURN­SIDE

EDRIC BURN­SIDE, the 39-year-old grand­son of wild­cat Mis­sis­sippi blues­man RL Burn­side, has as much right as any­body to keep its of­ten-un­fath­omable tra­di­tions alive. From the age of six, he lived in ‘Big Daddy’ RL’s house in Holly Springs, Mis­sis­sippi: his fate was sealed when he jumped in on drums at one of grandad’s reg­u­lar house par­ties. “I just knew deep down in­side of me,” he says to­day, bark­ing into his cell phone by the road­side in a re­mote part of Mis­sis­sippi, “that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” At 14, he re­placed his fa­ther, Calvin Jack­son, as RL’s live drum­mer, and soon toured Europe sup­port­ing the Jon Spencer Blues Ex­plo­sion, as his ‘Big Daddy’ blew minds in alt-rock cir­cles. Af­ter Burn­side Sr passed away in ’05, Cedric played with the North Mis­sis­sippi All-Stars, cut CDs with as­so­ci­ated ax­e­man Light­nin’ Mal­colm, and re­peat­edly won the Best Drum­mer gong at Amer­ica’s Blues Mu­sic Awards. At the start of the ’10s, though, he started toy­ing with songcraft, and this month re­leases sopho­more set Ben­ton County Relic, an al­bum of hazy, trans­fix­ing alchemy where beats and song struc­tures fol­low a pe­cu­liar, un­math­e­mat­i­cal logic. “My new­found love is gui­tar,” he en­thuses. “Peo­ple are used to Chicago blues, Texas blues, even Delta blues, and I like all of those styles, but when it comes down to hill coun­try, it’s just dif­fer­ent. There’s a very un­ortho­dox style of rhythm. Peo­ple are used to eight bars, or 12 bars, but with this mu­sic, there’s no bars, you know? The old cats, they like to change when they get ready.” The record’s 12 tracks find Burn­side Jr talk­ing about his life in dis­arm­ingly no-non­sense terms. We Made It re­lates to his im­pov­er­ished ori­gins. “We grew up with no toi­let, no bath tub,” he says, “we had to haul wa­ter for years, so the song’s say­ing, You can make it through.” Equally un­flinch­ing are Hard To Stay Cool, about the pain of los­ing his par­ents, un­cle and brother in close succession, and, at the other ex­treme, the car­nal Give It To You. It’s all as old as the hills them­selves, but equally, fresh as the morn­ing. “I want to def­i­nitely keep the mu­sic alive, and not for­get my roots,” he says, “but also keep evolv­ing with time.” He’s do­ing ‘Big Daddy’ proud.

Ben­ton County Relic is out on Septem­ber 14 on Sin­gle Lock Records.

Hel­ter skel­ter Delta: Cedric Burn­side, stay­ing on the straight and nar­row.

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