In the album’s opening track, “Bloodstone,” Cedric Burnside sings, “I was born with the blues, and I feel she was born the same.” Burnside’s blues are not just geographical – he was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi – but congenital, too. He was raised by his grandfather, blues legend, R.L. Burnside, and went on tour at an early age, learning guitar and drums. He started the Cedric Burnside Project in 2005 as a two man outfit: Burnside steadies the drum (three-time winner of the Memphis Blues Award for best drummer) while Trenton Ayers casually but expertly plays electric and acoustic guitar.Burnside’s songs rotate through swamp rock, funk, soul, and gospel, but all remain rooted in the sonic soil of his blues heritage and upbringing. While he lacks the outright and sometimes esoteric weirdness of his grandfather’s lyrical work, Burnside retains a talent for storytelling. He and Ayers seem most natural in “Bloodstone,” “Come On In,” and especially “Mean Queen,” with southern blues twanging-guitar accompanied by Patrick Williams on harmonica. It is common to compare two-man blues rock bands to forerunners like The White Stripes and The Black Keys, but the Cedric Burnside Project flares that same successful spirit a thousand miles further south – a pair of talented musicians who know how to strip everything down but still provide a full and clear sound. The band tours Mississippi and Louisiana venues frequently and can be seen playing high-energy shows and channeling Burnside’s euphonic ancestry at D.B.A. or the Blue Nile several times a year. – Samuel Nelson
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