Cedric Burnside has spent the better part of his life playing the blues, from his early days playing guitar or drums alongside the Hill Country Blues legend R.L. Burnside, his grandfather, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, to teaming up with next-gen talents like Christone “Kingfish” Ingram for tour dates across the country—and nabbing a couple of Grammy nominations along the way. Next month, the 42-year-old bluesman returns with I Be Trying, his most personal album yet. “The music I write means a lot to me,” Burnside says. “I put everything into it—my heart, my soul, my pride. I hope it’ll help people open up and say how they really feel to the world. It certainly does that for me.”
Burnside recorded the thirteen-song album at Royal Studios in Memphis over just three days. It includes two covers: “Bird Without a Feather,” by his grandfather, aka “Big Daddy” Burnside, and “Keep Your Hands Off Her,” by another Hill Country icon, Junior Kimbrough. “It’s important to me to pay homage to them and keep exposing new generations to their music,” Cedric says. His original compositions honor those musical forefathers, too, with soul-stirring vocals and fiery guitar solos lighting up tracks like “Step In” and “Get Down.” He also makes way for the next generation, featuring vocals from his youngest daughter, Portrika, on the title track.
On the album’s moving opener, “The World Can Be So Cold,” which Garden & Gun is proud to premiere, Burnside strips it down, offering acoustic guitar licks alongside a lyrical lament. “I’ve realized over time that the world doesn’t owe you a thing,” says Burnside, who wrote the number in response to the various trials of the last year. “No matter how bad or good it gets, your heart can still be broke. Your brain can still get wrecked. This song, more than any other song on the album, is one that anyone in the world can relate to. Everyone understands this truth.”
Hear “The World Can Be So Cold” below. I Be Trying is out June 25 and available for preorder now.