Kent Burnside & The New Generation
Gig Seeker Pro

Kent Burnside & The New Generation

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Blues Jam

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


While blues has universal respect as a cultural cornerstone, it seems to have ceded its role as The Devil's Music to other genres. But blues can be as thorny and confrontational as the works of Nick Cave or Jon Spencer. The latter championed Mississippian R.L. Burnside, a farmer who'd perform at the occasional festival. Burnside played juke-joint music, fusing neighbor Fred McDowell's iconic rural style with heavily rhythmic small-band electricity. RLB passed in '05, but his grandsons keep his tradition well alive. Kent Burnside & the New Generation tackle blues not as museum material but as a means for realizing sweaty good times in crowded basements or bars. - sfweekly.com


Kent Burnside to build on grandfather's legacy
10-10-2008 | Music

By Cole Cheney

Living in Grandpa’s shadow could have clouded his success.

Instead, Kent Burnside decided to beef up the Mississippi Delta blues legacy left by his legendary relative, R. L. Burnside, with funky bass, evidently self-taught guitar playing and the occasional classic rock cover.

Burnside and his band the New Generation will perform at 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. Iowa City punk/blues group Liberty Leg will open the show. Admission is $7.

“Last time I was in Iowa City, I played the Yacht Club with my uncle Duwayne [Burnside],” Burnside says. “The crowd definitely fed off of our energy and I thought ‘hey, it’s time I come back.’”

This time around, Burnside will play a mix of songs from his latest album Country Boy with Big City Dreams and his previous release Cotton Field Disco. In the untidiness of his funk, soul and rhythm influences, the blues still shine as his centerpiece.

His southern style and notable genealogy, however, are not the only components of Burnside’s musical mastery.

In a style that might make Jimi Hendrix’s upside-down guitar playing look relatively normal, Burnside strums his electric guitar strictly with his thumb. The visual effect is an odd brushing of his instrument. Audibly, he maintains a breakneck speed with a wide range of notes, despite what some guitar pick users would describe as a speed and sound impairment.

“I tried to learn to play along with my Grandpa and his friends,” Burnside says. “After struggling with a pick awhile, I said ‘to heck with it’ and haven’t cared for the things since.”

Using the pad of his thumb to pull fat sounds off his bass notes and chimes from his upper register, muffled tones are not the extent of his clamor. To “twang them strings,” as Iowa’s own Delta bluesman Catfish Keith describes it, Burnside rotates his nail downward to sharpen the blow of the notes flying off his guitar.

This homegrown panache demonstrates Burnside’s nonchalant approach to music despite his collaborations with Buddy Guy and a major record deal with Knock Down South records.

“I grew up really poor in Mississippi, where every weekend we’d have a party to listen to Grandpa play,” Burnside says. “We’d steal his guitar and play when he was gone, breaking strings and scuffing the wood. We had to go out and earn money to pay him back for the damages.”

Not only are his roots genuine, his band also showcases instrumentation and talent dripping with southern folksiness.

With drummer Jacob Best, bass player Dan Burnside (Kent’s brother), rhythm guitar player Ren Olstrand, lap steel player Gabe Meyer, and Rich Wilcox on violin and harmonica, the New Generation would be a dominant musical entity on its own.

Add the (literally) towering Burnside and the group tears through gritty guitar licks and smooth rhythms in a soulful groove.

The touring, the playing and the music would not have happened were it not for one little tidbit of grandfatherly advice, Burnside says.

“Grandpa told me, ‘Even if you don’t make it in music, the least that you want to be able to say is that you tried it.”

- CorridorBuzz.com


KentBurnside is the grandson of blues legend R.L. Burnside, the nephew ofblues musicians Duwayne and Dan Burnside, and the cousin of bluesperformer Cedric Burnside. Yet during a recent phone interview, the36-year-old Kent recalls that when he decided to finally embark onhis own professional blues career in 2006, his inspiration for doingso wasn't one of his famed family members."Whatactually inspired me," he says, "was Samuel Jackson."Inwriter/director Craig Brewer's 2007 movie BlackSnake Moan,the actor was cast as anaging blues man in rural Mississippi, a role modeled, in look andvoice, on Burnside's grandfather. (Near the film's climax,Jackson performs a version of R.L.'s song "Stack-O-Lee.") Andduring filming, says Burnside, Jackson "had this party for themovie, and I got the chance to meet him."Healso had the chance to play for him. With a number of blues musiciansperforming at the gathering, Burnside remembers, "My cousin wasplaying, and my sister told him [Jackson] that Iplayed guitar, too, and he was like, ‘Man, I'd like to listen tothat.' So I ended up playing there, and he was like, ‘Man, youare good.'"Andafter my grandpa passed," which occurred during BlackSnake Moan's filming inSeptember of 2005, "I knew this was what he really wanted me to do.And deep down inside, I wanted todo it. So I just took the chance."Itwas a chance that paid off. The Des Moines-based Kent Burnside andhis band, the New Generation - performing at the Redstone Room onMay 23 - have toured extensively over the past two years,River Cities' Readerhttp://www.rcreader.comPowered by Joomla!Generated: 7 October, 2008, 09:09
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Page 2
performing a blend of traditional Mississippi Delta blues and whatthe artist calls "a little bit of everything. Blues is my mainthing that I really love to do, but I play a little rock. I loveElvis, I'll do a little Jimi Hendrix ... . Anything."Raisedin Mississippi, where he was frequently in the presence of hisgrandfather's musician friends, Burnside says, "I grew up arounda lot of the great artists, you know. Listening to them playing outof their houses, they'd have a nice little crowd over ... . Peoplejust enjoying the music. But as a kid, believe it or not, I hatedlistenin' to the blues.It was kind of forced on me, because every weekend we would haveparties, and the kids always had to help serve sandwiches and stuff.""Butafter a while," he continues, "it just kind of rubbed off on me.I just kept listenin' and listenin', and I just kept watchin'the people, seeing how much enjoyment they were getting out of it."Theyoung Burnside also realized how much enjoyment there was inperforming, or at least pretendingto perform. "I'd justgrab a stick and step up with them and be playing with the stick,"he says with the laugh. "And after a while, I got tired of playingwith the stick, and used to sneak out and grab the guitars. And theyrealized, you know, ‘Somebody's messing with the guitars,'because I kept breaking the strings."Helaughs again. "They saw that, you know, I really wanted to learn."Thoughhe had no formal training on the guitar, Burnside says, "I watchedmy grandfather mostly all the time," and quickly learned to adoptelements of R.L.'s guitar style."Mygrandfather didn't use a pick," he says. "He used his fingers;he did a lot of finger-pickin'. And most people, that's the firstthing they realize - I don't play with a pick. I play a lot oflead [guitar], but I can make the same sound that people make with apick with my thumb.I use my thumb to play every note, and actually, I'm pretty goodwith it, you know? I don't know how I do it, but it comes outRiver Cities' Readerhttp://www.rcreader.comPowered by Joomla!Generated: 7 October, 2008, 09:09
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Page 3
clear."Withcontinued practice came growing appreciation for his grandfather'swork, and the work of many others. "I loved listening to Buddy Guy,Albert King ... you know, just tonsof blues," says Burnside."But I loved different kinds of music. I listened to a lot ofcountry, rock, Elvis... . I listened to all kinds of stuff. When you limit yourself, youdon't grow. And I learned every day. I stilllearn every day."AsI got older," he continues, "my grandfather told me, ‘You'vegot a talent.' He said, ‘You should go for it. And if you don'tmake it, you don't. But you've got the right spirit, the rightheart for it. I think you'll be okay.'"Despiteplaying occasional backup for his grandfather and uncles, though, itwas many years before Burnside sought a professional career of hisown. "I've been playing all my life," he says, "but I alwayshad a regular job. I worked for Wonder Bread, for the USDA ... . Iknew I had to have something to fall back on, you know, just in casethe music didn't make it."Yetif Samuel L. Jackson's appraisal inspired Burnside to pursue amusical career, an encounter with Mississippi b - River Cities' Reader


Discography

Cotton Field Disco
Country Boy With City Dreams (forthcoming)

Photos

Bio

Living in Grandpa’s shadow could have clouded his success.

Instead, Kent Burnside decided to beef up the Mississippi Delta blues legacy left by his legendary relative, R. L. Burnside, with funky bass, evidently self-taught guitar playing and the occasional classic rock cover.

“Last time I was in Iowa City, I played the Yacht Club with my uncle Duwayne [Burnside],” Burnside says. “The crowd definitely fed off of our energy and I thought ‘hey, it’s time I come back.’”

This time around, Burnside will play a mix of songs from his latest album Country Boy with Big City Dreams and his previous release Cotton Field Disco. In the untidiness of his funk, soul and rhythm influences, the blues still shine as his centerpiece.

His southern style and notable genealogy, however, are not the only components of Burnside’s musical mastery.

In a style that might make Jimi Hendrix’s upside-down guitar playing look relatively normal, Burnside strums his electric guitar strictly with his thumb. The visual effect is an odd brushing of his instrument. Audibly, he maintains a breakneck speed with a wide range of notes, despite what some guitar pick users would describe as a speed and sound impairment.

“I tried to learn to play along with my Grandpa and his friends,” Burnside says. “After struggling with a pick awhile, I said ‘to heck with it’ and haven’t cared for the things since.”

Using the pad of his thumb to pull fat sounds off his bass notes and chimes from his upper register, muffled tones are not the extent of his clamor. To “twang them strings,” as Iowa’s own Delta bluesman Catfish Keith describes it, Burnside rotates his nail downward to sharpen the blow of the notes flying off his guitar.

This homegrown panache demonstrates Burnside’s nonchalant approach to music despite his collaborations with Buddy Guy and a major record deal with Knock Down South records.

“I grew up really poor in Mississippi, where every weekend we’d have a party to listen to Grandpa play,” Burnside says. “We’d steal his guitar and play when he was gone, breaking strings and scuffing the wood. We had to go out and earn money to pay him back for the damages.”

Not only are his roots genuine, his band also showcases instrumentation and talent dripping with southern folksiness.

With drummer Jacob Best, bass player Dan Burnside (Kent’s brother), rhythm guitar player Ren Olstrand, lap steel player Gabe Meyer, and Rich Wilcox on violin and harmonica, the New Generation would be a dominant musical entity on its own.

Add the (literally) towering Burnside and the group tears through gritty guitar licks and smooth rhythms in a soulful groove.

The touring, the playing and the music would not have happened were it not for one little tidbit of grandfatherly advice, Burnside says.

“Grandpa told me, ‘Even if you don’t make it in music, the least that you want to be able to say is that you tried it.”

Booking: Crystal Crawford
Blue-Eyed Booking & Promotions
Phone: 615.887.1169
Email: crystal@blueeyedbooking.com
Web: http://blueeyedbooking.com
Myspace: http://myspace.com/blueeyedbookingpromotions