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Cedric Burnside Carries Blues Torch with New Release '2 Man Wrecking Crew'

Drummer and vocalist Cedric Burnside comes from a long line of great blues musicians. His father is noted drummer Calvin Jackson, and his grandfather is the late blues guitar master R.L. Burnside. Cedric became interested in the blues earlier than most.

Cedric Burnside's blues may not be the type of blues his grandfather played, but its roots are firmly planted in the hill country of Northern Mississippi, where for young Cedric, the blues was born.

"From about six or seven years old, my grandad [and his friends] had house parties and things at the house," he explains. "And we sat back and 'kicked up dust' [danced] just listening to them play music on the front porch. And I just grew up with it. He just instilled it in my blood."

Cedric was just a teenager when he started on the honky-tonk circuit. Soon he was recruited to play drums for R.L. Burnside, a stint that took him around the globe.

While Cedric incorporates a variety of modern styles into his solo act, including funk and hip-hop, he says there will always be a place for the Delta blues introduced to him by his grandfather.

"My granddad is one of my biggest influences," Burnside says. "But just growing up with that type of music is different than [growing up with] the Chicago blues, or you might do a little Texas blues. They sound sort of similar. But this music here is way different and the timing is way different from any other blues that you listen to. It's definitely a unique blues."

Cedric teams up with singer and guitarist Steve "Lightnin'" Malcolm on their new album 2 Man Wrecking Crew. It's not the first time the duo has recorded together, and according to Cedric, it won't be the last.

"This music here, I have to say I want to play it for the rest of my life," he says. "I want to play it until I leave this world. That's where my heart is at. I have to say I never thought drums would take me as far as it took me but I thank God for it, you know."

Cedric remembers his grandfather on a track simply titled "R.L. Burnside."