“I know what it’s like to wake up and not having anything to eat… My blues comes out differently than somebody who just plays the blues because they like it”: Cedric Burnside on living the blues – and why he plays guitars built by a brain surgeon

Cedric Burnside
(Image credit: Jim Arbogast)

Cedric Burnside’s musical DNA is defined by tradition and authenticity. Born in Memphis, Tennessee into a heritage of hill country blues musicians, the 45-year-old’s career – which saw him transition from drummer to bandleader – has been all about “keeping the music alive”, but doing it in his own way.  

“My big daddy, R. L. Burnside, opened the door for the Burnside family and I’m grateful for that,” he says. “But I also think that, in the midst of keeping the hill country blues alive, he would want me to make my own way. This music has been embedded in my heart since I was a kid watching R. L. play, but you have to change with the times.”   

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.