1 Cedric Burnside Photo Credit Jim Arbogast


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When Cedric Burnside prepared to record Hill Country Love, the follow-up to his 2021 Grammy-winning album I Be Trying, he set up shop in a former legal office located in a row of structures in Ripley, Mississippi, the seat of Tippah County, a town known as the birthplace of the Hill Country Blues style. Producer Luther Dickinson brought recording equipment into the empty space and they recorded fourteen songs in two days.

"Every time I write an album, it's always different," says Burnside, whose previous two releases—2015's Descendants of Hill Country and 2018's Benton County Relic-were both nominated for Grammys. "This time, I'm a little more upfront and direct."

As songs like the title track and "Juke Joint" indicate, even with all his travels and accomplishments, Burnside has never strayed far from the distinctive style pioneered by his grandfather, blues legend R.L.Burnside. But Burnside sees himself as an inheritor, not an imitator, incorporating rock, R&B, and hip-hop elements into his work. "Love You Music" reveals the parallels between the polyrhythmic, droning sound of the Hill Country style and West African music, and on "Closer," Burnside strives for spiritual redemption.

Cedric Burnside's goal for Hill Country Love was a real sense of honesty and integrity. "I have to be true to where l'm coming from," he continues. "Life gives you good and life gives you bad and you have to cope with it however you need to cope with it.