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Promotional graphic for Cedric Burnside's Orion Free Concert, featuring him playing guitar surrounded by colorful bursts and music icons on a black background.

Orion Free Concert Series ft. Cedric Burnside

The Orion Free Concert Series welcomes local, national, and international acts to the historic stage where legendary talent has left a timeless legacy.

As always, picnic baskets, beverages, blankets, and lawn chairs are welcome during the Orion Free Concert Series. We also offer food and beverage for sale in our Autozone Food and Beverage Concourse. Dogs on a leash are welcome in the designated, dog-friendly PUPPY BAR.

The Shell is a nonsmoking facility.

About the Artist:

The official credit tells it like it is. “Recorded in an old building in Ripley, Mississippi” – that’s all the info we get, and all that we need.

When Cedric Burnside prepared to record Hill Country Love, the follow-up to his 2021 Grammy-winning album I Be Trying, he set up shop in a former legal office located in a row of structures in the seat of Tippah County, a town with 5,000 residents that’s known as the birthplace of the Hill Country Blues style.

Certainly, plenty of things have happened in Cedric Burnside’s life since he went on the road at age 13, drumming for his grandfather, the pioneering bluesman R.L. Burnside. His two albums before I Be Trying – 2015’s Descendants of Hill Country and 2018’s Benton County Relic – were both nominated for Grammys. He has also appeared in several films, including Tempted and Big Bad Love (both released in 2001) and the 2006 hit Black Snake Moan, and he played the title character in 2021’s Texas Red.

Burnside is a recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship, the country’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts and was recently recognized with the 2024 Mississippi Governor’s Art Award for Excellence in Music. He has performed and recorded with such diverse musicians as Jimmy Buffett, Bobby Rush, and Widespread Panic.

Yet as the title of the new album indicates, Burnside has never strayed far from the distinctive blues style introduced to the world by his “Big Daddy” R.L. and such other greats as Junior Kimbrough, Jessie Mae Hemphill, and Otha Turner. “I’ve been traveling my whole life, and the song ‘Hill Country Love’ gave me a chance to let people know that I love what I do and give a sense of how we do it in Mississippi – like, the house party is a tradition here, Big Daddy threw a lot of them. So that’s what I was thinking about as I was writing that song – where I come from and also where I’m going, and how my journey has been to get to where I’m at now.”

At the same time, Burnside sees himself as an inheritor, not an imitator, of his native region’s blues style. “Big Daddy’s music, Junior’s music, Mister Otha’s music – my music is similar to theirs, but I’m a younger generation,” he says. “Whether we want to or not, we move on, and so my music will automatically sound a little more modern. But even if I tried to sound really modern, that old feel and old sound is just there. You might hear a song and think. ‘Wow, that sounds like it was recorded in 1959.’ I like that, but it’s really just me growing up around it and falling in love with that sound.”

To Cedric Burnside, Hill Country Love is a culmination of a career that’s already seen astonishing accomplishments and only keeps growing. What he wanted this time out was a real sense of honesty and integrity. “I compromised a little bit with my albums in the past,” he says, “and I didn’t really have to compromise with this one, because I did it by myself. I paid for the engineer, paid for the musicians, I didn’t have a record company there. We just went to play music, and how it came out was how it came out – and it came out great.

“I have to be true to where I’m coming from,” he continues. “On this album, the feeling that I had was like, I’m going to write what I feel, I’m going to write what’s going on. Life gives you good and life gives you bad and you have to cope with it however you need to cope with it. My way of coping with things is through my music, so I thank the Lord for music. I really do.”

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Jun 13 2024


7:30 pm



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Overton Park Shell
1928 Poplar Ave. Memphis TN 38104


Overton Park Shell
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