Cedric Burnside

While some people pay to see what their family history is about and where they came from. Cederic Burnside already knows what his legacy is, and that’s playing the blues. Weened on the music of the north Mississippi hill country. It’s obvious that the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree considering that he’s an electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. And just like his father Calvin Jackson, he’s also a blues drummer.

By age 13, he was already touring with his grandfather R.L. Burnside playing drums for his band. So, one can only imagine what it was like being that involved in the blues at such an early age. I’m sure starting out he would be nervous but inspired as well. Especially growing as the grandson of one of the most famous progenitors of the blues. The blues is in his blood!


Cedric Burnside “I Be Trying”

Releasing “I’ll Be Trying” in 2021. This is the first time I had heard any of his music in awhile. But just listening to the song “Step In”,  and you can tell he’s still the real deal when it comes to the blues. Even more, this particular album encompasses even more styles of the blues with just enough musical nuggets to make you stop and go hmmm. Did I really hear that? You hear the obvious hats off to the past generations and some new nuances that shows you where he’s going musically into the future. All I can say is that listening to these songs just makes me smile because when you’re listening to the different songs, you also reminded how important it is to preserve your past and it’s traditions for future generations.

Seeing him play live or watching a video of him performing. You can see the blues emanating from him.  He’s obviously reaching the masses because he’ll be doing shows in August with the likes of Greta Van Fleet and others. with a tour schedule that goes through to the end of November.

Recently, Burnside also became a recipient of the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Foundation of the Arts, joining the ranks of American folk legends like Mavis Staples, Ralph Stanley, and Shirley Caesar. Looks to me like he’s on the right path for even more greater things ahead. 



While it’s obvious that things are looking up for Cedric nowadays, some of his songs reflect on the struggle he had with a difficult childhood. For those of us that grew up in the rural south we know exactly what it was like. Furthermore, he’s not a fan of politics stating that politics divides us while the blues brings us together and will get us all through any situation. His style is stripped down soulful blues coming from the heart.

I can agree with this music of any kind has that magic. On the drumming side of things, he’s shared the stage with quite a few well known artists as well as being in the studio with a few. Artists such as Jessie Mae Hemphill, John Hermann, Kenny Brown, Richard Johnston, Jimmy Buffett, T-Model Ford, Paul “Wine” Jones, Widespread Panic, Afrissippi, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. A nice array of musicians to collaborate with. 



What is left, and this is everything, is a resonant kind of love. Buoyed by his readings of Lao Tzu and rumination on his own life choices and hurts, Burnside says he is “trying his best to implement love” in his life and in relationships with others. “There’s not enough love shown in the world. People have a lot of regret. The world needs more love.”

Burnside’s turn inward has him considering his place in the family legacy of professional blues musicians. He is a proud father of three daughters, ages 22, 18, and 15, all of whom can play drums and guitar, and is looking forward to more collaborations like the one with the youngest Burnside daughter on “I Be Trying.”