Holly Springs in Marshall County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Hill Country Blues
Although Delta blues often claims the spotlight, other styles of the blues were produced in other regions of Mississippi. In the greater Holly Springs area, musicians developed a "hill county" blues style characterized by few chord changes, unconventional song structures, and an emphasis on the "groove" or a steady, driving rhythm. In the 1990s this style was popularized through the recordings of local musicians R.L. Burnside and David "Junior" Kimbrough.
R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough became unlikely heroes of the music world in the 1990s when their "hill country" style caught on in both blues and alternative rock music circles. Although Burnside (1926-2005) and Kimbrough (1930-1998) had both begun recording in the 1960s, they had mostly performed at local juke joints or house parties. Most of their early recordings had been made by field researchers and musicologists such as George Mitchell, David Evans of the University of Memphis, and Sylvester Oliver of Rust College. They developed a new, younger following after they appeared in the 1991 documentary Deep Blues and recorded for the Oxford-based Fat Possum label, and college students and foreign tourists mixed with locals at Kimbrough's legendary juke joint in Chulahoma. Both artists toured widely and inspired
Burnside, born in Lafayette County, was influenced by blues stars John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters but also learned directly from local guitarists Mississippi Fred McDowell and Ranie Burnette. For most of his life Burnside worked as a farmer and fisherman. He only began to perform at festivals and in Europe in the 1970s. Burnside's music took a more modern turn when sons Joseph, Daniel, and Duwayne Burnside and son-in-law Calvin Johnson played with him in his Sound Machine band. By the early '90s Burnside was performing around the world in a fro with grandson Cedric Burnside and "adopted son" Kenny Brown. Following Burnside's death his family, including grandson Kent Burnside, continued to perform his music, as did his protege Robert Belfour, a Holly Springs native who also recorded for the Fat Possum label.
Just as Burnside's music reflected his jovial personality, the more introspective Junior Kimbrough produced singular music with a darker approach.
Erected 2008 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 45.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 34° 46.11′ N, 89° 26.87′ W. Marker is in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in Marshall County. Marker is at the intersection of East College Avenue and North Center Street, on the right when traveling west on East College Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Holly Springs MS 38635, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Holly Springs (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Mississippi Central R.R. Campaign (about 400 feet away); Yellow Fever House Asbury United Methodist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Walthall Home (approx. 0.3 miles away); Airliewood (approx. 0.6 miles away); a different marker also named Mississippi Central R.R. Campaign (approx. 0.7 miles away); Sherwood Bonner (McDowell) (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Holly Springs.
Also see . . . Mississippi Blues Trail. (Submitted on July 6, 2015.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 30, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 2, 2015, by Phillip Knecht of Holly Springs, Mississippi. This page has been viewed 163 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 2, 2015, by Phillip Knecht of Holly Springs, Mississippi. 4, 5. submitted on July 3, 2015, by Phillip Knecht of Holly Springs, Mississippi. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.