Garry Burnside - The Mississippi Blues Tradition Lives

Garry Burnside - The Mississippi Blues Tradition Lives

In the realm of blues, there are two families for Garry Burnside: his biological one and his hill country blues one. Garry is from Holly Springs, Mississippi. He carries the musical legacy of his father, R.L. Burnside, a North Mississippi hill country blues legend who passed away in September 2005. R.L. Burnside's distinctive style inspired a lineage of 14 children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, all of whom delved into music, forming bands and solo acts to perpetuate their rich heritage.

(Garry Burnside, pictured on the left, with his father R.L. Burnside)

Garry is primarily self-taught and takes inspiration from his extended blues family, as well as guitar legends such as Albert Collins, Little Milton Campbell, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, and B.B. King. Starting his musical journey at ten years old with percussion, Garry expanded his repertoire to include bass and guitar.

"I picked up the guitar and drums because that's what was around the house all the time," he reflects. "When you grow up hearing this blues music, it gets in your head, heart, and soul. I looked outside of home and picked up licks from other bluesmen, especially guitar players, to fill up on what they had to teach me. Then, I took from them to make my own sound that takes me into the future."


(Garry's early years were spent playing bass for many artists, including Junior Kimbrough, pictured)

Garry's public debut as a teenager involved playing bass for the highly influential hill-country blues musician Junior Kimbrough. After Kimbrough's passing in 1998, Garry ventured out on his own, forming a band and taking on the role of lead guitarist. Despite his versatility as a multi-instrumentalist, being a frontman became his primary musical pursuit.

"It (lets) me experiment with new things while keeping the hill-country touch as a foundation that will never leave my show song list," Garry remarks. "What I learned from being on the road with Daddy and Junior is something that can't be taught out of a book. They helped me become a professional because, in this business, things don't always go smooth."

Garry emphasizes the invaluable lessons from his father and Kimbrough about achieving a distinctive sound without needing an extensive band. "They showed me that you don't have to have a lot of pieces behind you in the band to produce the sound you're looking for. They told me to always rely on what I know how to do and do that better than the next guy who may want to copy your sound."

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