Duwayne Burnside’s Birthday Party and Bonfire at the Blues Shack in Waterford

Blues, bonfire, entertainment, events, music, picnic, videos

001 Duwayne Burnside's Birthday Bonfire004 Duwayne Burnside's Birthday005 Duwayne Burnside's Birthday006 Duwayne Burnside's Birthday007 Duwayne Burnside's Birthday008 Duwayne Burnside's Birthday009 Duwayne Burnside's Birthday
Hill Country blues legend Duwayne Burnside was celebrating his birthday with a party and bonfire at the Blues Shack in Waterford, Mississippi, so I decided to go down. Unfortunately, it was the coldest night so far of the year, and the turnout wasn’t nearly as large as I had expected, mostly close friends and family, but Duwayne and his brother Garry Burnside were glad to see me. At previous Blues Shack events, people tended to hang out near the stage, but at this one, people kept around the bonfire for obvious reason, except for the younger kids, who were running all around. An old harmonica player was on stage, playing with one of the younger boys on drums. After awhile, I headed back to Holly Springs because Kent Kimbrough was also celebrating his birthday at Junior’s Juke Joint #2.

David Kimbrough, Little Joe Ayers and Robert Kimbrough Live at The New Junior’s Juke Joint #2 in Holly Springs

Blues, entertainment, events, music, Night Clubs, videos

084 Junior's Juke Joint #2085 Junior's Juke Joint #2086 Junior's Juke Joint #2087 Junior's Juke Joint #2088 Little Joe Ayers089 Little Joe Ayers090 Little Joe Ayers091 Little Joe Ayers092 Little Joe Ayers094 Junior's Juke Joint #2095 Little Joe Ayers096 Little Joe Ayers097 Junior's Juke Joint #2098 Junior's Juke Joint #2099 Little Joe Ayers100 Junior's Juke Joint #2101 Robert Kimbrough102 Robert Kimbrough103 Robert Kimbrough104 Robert Kimbrough105 Robert Kimbrough106 Robert Kimbrough107 Robert Kimbrough108 Robert Kimbrough109 Robert Kimbrough110 Junior's Juke Joint #2111 Junior's Juke Joint #2112 Robert Kimbrough113 Junior's Juke Joint #2114 Robert Kimbrough115 Robert Kimbrough116 Robert Kimbrough117 Robert Kimbrough118 Robert Kimbrough119 Junior's Juke Joint120 David Kimbrough121 David Kimbrough122 David Kimbrough123 David Kimbrough124 David Kimbrough125 David Kimbrough126 David Kimbrough127 David Kimbrough128 David Kimbrough129 Junior's Juke Joint #2130 David Kimbrough131 Junior's Juke Joint #2132 David Kimbrough133 David Kimbrough134 Junior's Juke Joint #2135 Junior's Juke Joint #2
For many years, Hill Country bluesman Junior Kimbrough had a juke joint in rural Marshall County that was a destination for those in the know. People from all over the world made their way to the spot, where blues continued “All Night Long”, as the song said. The juke moved a couple of times over the years, then burned to the ground, and never reopened. So when I heard that Junior’s son was opening a new juke called Junior’s Juke Joint #2 near Holly Springs, I was thrilled. The new juke is much closer to town than the old ones had been, just north of the Rust College campus along Highway 7. The bright blue building was already abuzz with activity when I arrived, and I saw a number of people that had just come from the blues concert on the square, just as I had. Little Joe Ayers performed first, and as he was on stage Shannon McNally and Garry Burnside came in. Shortly thereafter, Junior Kimbrough’s son Robert Kimbrough got on stage and performed several tunes, and then the man of the evening appears, the juke’s owner himself, David Kimbrough Jr. As he performs a number of the Hill Country blues standards, his dad’s as well as R. L. Burnside’s, the floor fills up with willing dancers. When I left at midnight, things were still going strong. Junior’s Juke Joint #2 will be a must-visit attraction in Holly Springs.

Final Thursday Night Blues on the Square in Holly Springs with Brown Sugar and Shannon McNally @McNally

Bands, Blues, entertainment, events, music, videos

001 Blues on the Square003 Blues on the Square005 Brown Sugar Band006 Brown Sugar Band007 Brown Sugar008 Blues on the Square009 Blues on the Square010 Blues on the Square011 Blues on the Square012 Blues on the Square013 Blues on the Square014 Blues on the Square015 Blues on the Square016 Blues on the Square017 Brown Sugar Band018 Brown Sugar Band019 Blues on the Square020 Blues on the Square021 Blues on the Square024 Blues on the Square026 Brown Sugar Band027 Brown Sugar Band028 Brown Sugar Band029 Brown Sugar Band030 Brown Sugar Band031 Blues on the Square032 Blues on the Square033 Blues on the Square034 Blues on the Square035 Blues on the Square036 Blues on the Square037 Blues on the Square038 Blues on the Square039 Blues on the Square040 Blues on the Square041 Blues on the Square042 Blues on the Square043 Alice Mae's Cafe044 Blues on the Square045 Blues on the Square046 Blues on the Square047 JB's On The Square048 JB's On The Square049 JB's On The Square050 Shannon McNally051 Shannon McNally052 Shannon McNally053 Shannon McNally054 Garry Burnside and Shannon McNally055 Blues on the Square056 Shannon McNally057 Shannon McNally058 Garry Burnside059 Shannon McNally060 Shannon McNally061 Blues on the Square062 Blues on the Square063 Blues on the Square064 Shannon McNally & Garry Burnside065 Shannon McNally066 Shannon McNally067 Garry Burnside068 Garry Burnside069 Blues on the Square070 Blues on the Square071 Blues on the Square072 Blues on the Square073 Blues on the Square075 Blues on the Square076 Blues on the Square077 Blues on the Square078 Blues on the Square079 Blues on the Square080 Blues on the Square081 Blues on the Square082 Blues on the Square083 Blues on the Square
Beginning in July each summer, the town of Holly Springs, Mississippi sponsors Thursday night blues concerts on the courthouse lawn in the town square. While the events do attract tourists, it’s not just a tourist-oriented event, as Marshall County is an important place in Mississippi blues history. Two of the greatest Hill County bluesmen, R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, were from Marshall County, and made their careers and reputations in the area. The county is also home to the annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, held each summer in Waterford, and the county seat of Holly Springs is the location of Akei Pro’s Record Shop, a virtual blues-lover’s paradise, full of old vinyl records and some compact discs, as well as bluesman Duwayne Burnside’s local club, Alice Mae’s Cafe.
On September 25, I headed down to Holly Springs for the soft opening of a new juke joint, Junior’s Juke Joint #2, being opened north of town by David Kimbrough Jr, son of the late Junior Kimbrough. The opening date was chosen to correspond to the final Thursday night event of the year on the square, so I headed there first, and found a large crowd listening, dancing and enjoying the music of blues singer Brown Sugar and her band. After her performance, I ran across and grabbed a dinner at JB’s on the Square (good food) and then made it back in time to see indie singer Shannon McNally, who was performing with a band that included Garry Burnside (another son of R. L.’s) on guitar. North Center Street was also in a festive mood, with a large crowd outdoors, and good Southern Soul records playing in Alice Mae’s Cafe. In a large parking lot north of Akei Pro’s, there was a crowd of people hanging out and grilling food. After Shannon’s last song, there was a procession of Corvettes that came through the square, and the final Thursday night Blues on the Square event for 2014 came to a close.

Garry Burnside at the Cat Head Stage with Shannon McNally @McNally #JukeJointFest2014

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WHen I made my way back to the Cat Head stage, Garry Burnside (one of the sons of the late R.L. Burnside) was on the stage with his band, and sitting in with him was singer/songwriter Shannon McNally from Holly Springs.

The Eric Deaton Trio With Garry Burnside at The Blind Pig in Oxford

Bands, entertainment, events, music, videos


One of the interesting things about Oxford, Mississippi is the extent of their live music scene for being such a small town. Of course the University of Mississippi is there, but there’s almost more live music in Oxford than in Memphis sometimes, and that can make for some interesting dilemmas, such as the one March 28, where Duwayne Burnside and the Rev. John Wilkins were at the Powerhouse, and Eric Deaton, one of the late R.L. Burnside’s disciples, was at The Blind Pig on Lamar. Although I chose to go to the Powerhouse initially, around 10 PM or so I decided to head over to the Blind Pig and catch the end of Eric Deaton’s set. As it turned out, Duwayne Burnside’s brother Garry was over there, and sat in with Eric Deaton’s trio on several songs. Not long after that, Duwayne Burnside and a lot of other people came over from the Powerhouse as that event had ended, and it ended up being a great ending to an amazing night of Hill Country blues in Oxford. And the rain had finally ended too.

Garry Burnside Live at the Cool Spot (@_CoolSpot_) in Holly Springs

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I had heard that David Kimbrough Jr. would be coming from Arkansas to Holly Springs to play at a club called The Cool Spot, so I drove down there, and when I arrived, Garry Burnside was on stage with his band, and there was already a good-sized crowd in the place. David Kimbrough arrived shortly after I got there, and I learned he would be playing with Robert Kimbrough and Kenny Kimbrough on the evening’s second set. I also met a photographer for a Mississippi based urban entertainment magazine called MissHaps, which covers the state’s entertainment and club scene. The venue was of some interest, too. It was actually rather huge, with a large outdoor courtyard and deck that featured a projection screen on which videos were projected. It appeared that the other side of the courtyard was perhaps another club, or maybe a restaurant. It was actually a cool place to hang out and party, and I wonder if they’ve ever had live bands outdoors on the courtyard, which would be really cool indeed.

Garry Burnside Continuing the Family Legacy at the Hill Country Picnic

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The legacy of R. L. Burnside was and still is truly amazing. He left not only an important body of recorded music in the Hill Country blues tradition, but a large extended family of descendants who mostly are musicians, as well as several musicians he considered “adopted children” whose subsequent work has also kept alive the music that was his life’s work. Garry Burnside is one of those descendants, and an annual favorite at the Hill Country Picnic. Although his band shows a willingness to incorporate rock and more contemporary styles of blues, Burnside keeps a number of Hill Country standards in his repertoire, from his dad’s “Goin’ Down South” to Junior Kimbrough’s “All Night Long.”

Garry Burnside Band-Goin Down South-Live at Hill Country Picnic 2013

Garry Burnside Band-All Night Long-Live at Hill Country Picnic 2013

Eric Deaton Trio Live at the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic 2013

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Eric Deaton grew up in North Carolina, but moved to Mississippi after high school to study with the masters of Hill Country blues, Junior Kimbrough and R. L. Burnside. Today, Deaton is one of the most important performers and preservers of the unique Hill Country style of blues. On Friday night, Deaton began his set with a guest drummer in place of the missing Kinney Kimbrough, but Kimbrough finally appeared half way through the set, and Deaton was also joined by guitarist Garry Burnside, one of R. L.’s sons. The music, although amplified and electric, was authentic Hill Country blues and nothing else.

All-Star Blues Jam at the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic (@DontBeSoEvil)

entertainment, events, music

Every year, the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic is closed with an all-star jam of many of the great blues performers that appeared during the two days of the festival. This year’s jam included appearances from Kenny Brown, Duwayne Burnisde, Garry Burnside, Eric Deaton and Jimbo Mathus. It was definitely a great way to close out this year’s festival. 6/30/12