If the last name on your Mississippi birth certificate is Burnside, your options in life are probably somewhat limited: You can either a) Play the blues or b) Change your name, be disowned, move to another state and live in shameful anonymity like some member of the Witness Protection Program.
OK, it’s probably not that bad. Still, it’s great to see Cedric Burnside — legendary Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside‘s grandson — continuing to do the family name proud on his latest release I Be Trying. The followup to his 2018 release Benton County Relic (and his ninth album overall) is another rootsy, rough-hewn collection of earthy Hill Country blues that remains firmly tied to his family’s history and legacy without being beholden to it. No fussy stuff, no fancy-shmancy, no fiddly bits: Just simple, honest blues with one foot in the past and the other in the present. Gramps would be relieved. I suspect Cedric might be too.
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “I Be Trying might be the title of the new record from two-time Grammy nominee Cedric Burnside, but it’s also a mission statement in an era when plenty of us have discovered what “the blues” really means.
Recorded over three days at Royal Studios in Memphis (the home studio of Al Green and Hi Records in the ’60s and ’70s), this album is the ultimate statement of purpose for a critically acclaimed artist who has proudly carried the mantle of Mississippi Hill Country blues around the world. Over 13 tracks, Burnside delivers his bruised but unfettered truth over blistering guitar and deep-pocket drums — a sound birthed in his soul but developed and perfected on the road. But no matter how far he travels, the righteous sound he makes could only come from one place. I Be Trying is the sound of modern Mississippi.
Produced by second-generation Memphis soul trailblazer Boo Mitchell (Uptown Funk) and featuring guest appearances from Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) and Zac Cockrell (Brittany Howard), I Be Trying takes the sound that Burnside learned from his grandfather, blues legend R.L. Burnside, and reinterprets it into a modern, bold Black American sound that expands the sonic landscape while respecting and honoring its roots.”