CEDRIC BURNSIDE ‘Benton County Relic’ – CD


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Cedric Burnside is the grandson of North Mississippi blues legend R.L. Burnside. R.L.’s work can be described as wild blues, with manic drums and beautifully random guitar outbursts. Cedric, who played drums for his grandfather, has a similar sensibility – without falling into the trap of being a carbon-copy imitation. He borrows liberally, but also weaves in contemporary influences, creating a sound that takes his family’s country roots and gives them an ever-so-gentle polish, keeping the wildness and freeness of the grooves, but also instituting more control.

Benton County Relic has an intentional feel; the performances are all well thought-out. But there’s also a looseness to the album that makes it radiate with a live, unscripted energy. There’s something scary about letting a song do nothing, if only for a moment. Burnside is fearless in that regard, and it’s especially impressive since he recorded the album in just two days. This electric take on the Hill country blues sounds timeless, like it could have been made today or 60 years ago. The new record shows fabulous depth of musical maturity, from a sound perspective, thanks also layers of saturated guitars adding an extra spice to the already rich and powerful trademark sound typical of Cedric Burnside’s music.