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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Cedric Burnside Project sings the blues at Dave’s

As the birthplace of the blues, Mississippi and its people have a special heart for blues music. Friday, Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern will host a blues protégé in concert. Mississippi Hill Country Blues musician Cedric Burnside will fill Dave’s with his soulful tunes. 

Burnside was raised in Philadelphia, Miss., by his grandfather, blues legend R.L. Burnside. As a result, Cedric Burnside is a product of the Delta blues culture. R.L. Burnside, better known as “Big Daddy,” was a vital member of a very specific type of blues music: North Mississippi Hill Country Blues. In a TV interview with Ty Pennington, Cedric Burnside said the heritage of blues music has pervaded his life.  

“I was a blues baby, a blues kid and now I’m a blues man,” he said. 

At the age of seven, Cedric Burnside picked up the drums and later began to strum the guitar. By the age of 13, Cedric Burnside was touring and  can recall memorable experiences from his time on the road. He said his underage status gave him trouble when law enforcement disbanded shows. 

“I also remember playing some juke joints, and the police would show up. They would have to hide us, me and my uncles,” he said. “We were underage, and we were the band also.” 

Due to his deep musical background, Cedric Burnside’s tunes pull from a wide range of musical genres and styles. Both R. L. Burnside and R. L.’s close friend, Junior Kimbrough, are two of the largest influences on Cedric Burnside’s music. 

William Harris, sophomore anthropology major at Mississippi State University, has experience working with blues archives. Harris spent his winter break archiving large volumes of work by the Burnside and Kimbrough families at the Blues Archive section of Special Collections J.D. Williams Memorial Library at the University of Mississippi. 

Harris said Cedric Burnside’s music stems directly from the blues his grandfather played.

“This is the music he was raised with and grew up playing,” he said.  

In the interview with Pennington, Cedric Burnside even said his grandfather inspired him “to the fullest.” 

Harris said Cedric Burnside’s musical style draws from his heritage but also pulls together multiple influences to create an amalgamated sound.   

“His music incorporates the droning electric blues-boogie dance rhythms of Mississippi blues with other genres like funk and soul,” he said. 

Harris said Cedric Burnside’s patchwork sound was a groundbreaking move for a blues artist. 

 “He took a more innovative turn by adding his own components from other styles, including soul, funk and hard rock, hoping to form a sound of his own,” he said. 

Harris believes this is what helps Cedric Burnside maintain the interest of younger audiences while still holding to the traditions of Blues music. 

Pennington also points to the youthful sounds of Cedric Burnside and notes he is “sort of the younger generation of the blues.” 

Cedric Burnside’s music, while innovative, includes a serious attention to craft. Cedric Burnside said he focuses on his music above all else. 

“That’s my heart and soul,” Burnside said.  

This passion translates to Burnside’s live performances. 

Kerry Bayhi, Cedric Burnside’s manager, said Burnside naturally shines onstage. 

“The best way to see or listen to Cedric is live,” he said. “He has an unbridled energy and love for the music he plays.” 

David Hood, owner of Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern, said Cedric’s drumming, as well as his guitar playing, mark him as one of Mississippi’s finest musicians. Hood said he has high hopes for Friday’s performance. 

“Cedric may be the best drummer this state has produced, and he is one hell of a guitar player,” he said. “(He) always gets people on their feet, and I expect the same Friday night.”

Harris said attendees can expect a fun and intense atmosphere.

Friday’s performance will serve the same function that Harris said the blues has served since its inception — to bring joy and fraternity to those who lend a listening ear. 

“The style of music that Cedric plays has been used to bring together communities for years and was designed specifically for people to have a good time,” he said. 



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Cedric Burnside Project sings the blues at Dave’s