Duwayne Burnside was born in the late sixties in Coldwater, Mississippi and grew up hearing his father, R.L. Burnside, and family, as well as neighbors play music; guitar driven Mississippi Hill Country Blues. Along with his family and neighbors, the radio was another influence on Duwayne’s evolving style. He picked up the guitar before he was old enough to hold it himself.
Growing up, he played guitar behind his father, but more so backing local club owner Junior Kimbrough and the Soul Blues Boys. And with Memphis, Tennessee being as close as it was, Duwayne began playing and sitting in with seasoned and well known musicians that frequented town, such as Little Jimmy King, Albert King, B.B. King, Bobby Blue Band, and others.
Duwayne was also playing in R.L. Burnside’s family band Sound Machine Groove, which combined the hill country sound with the soul and R&B that was pouring out of Memphis at the time. Between the two styles and his growing experience, Duwayne became an outstanding rhythm player with the ability to blend with all styles of music and any musician. While playing rhythm Duwayne was also paying attention to all other parts being played, and stepped up to fit in anywhere he was needed whether it was drums, bass or guitar. Duwayne’s leads began to undeniably sound fuse with Albert King and the heavy soul feel that came from earlier playing experiences.
Duwayne recorded some with his father and the Sound Machine Groove on High Tone and Fat Possum Records before moving to Memphis and opening his own club, Burnside Kitchen and Grill near Highway 61. He booked the shows, cooked the food, sold the beer and played weekly.
In mid 1998, Duwayne traveled to Los Angeles, California to record his first full length record Live at the Mint as Duwayne Burnside and the Mississippi Mafia. Members included Cedric Burnside, Eddie Batos, Joe Hill from Alien Ant Farm, and David Kimbrough, with Duwayne’s father R.L. sitting in on a few choice tracks.
Soon after he returned, Duwayne decided to take a break from the bar business and moved back home to Holly Springs and settled down for awhile.
In 2001, Duwayne sat in with the North Mississippi All Stars for the first time in Birmingham, AL. It was the missing link of sorts. His rhythm and leads were so perfectly played and placed that on could have never known that was his first show with the band. From then on he toured 250 days a year with the band and recorded with the All Stars on their third record Polaris and was also featured on two E.P.’s.
In the beginning of 2004, Duwayne felt the need to pull in the reins again and settle back in at home for awhile opening another club, Burnside Blues Cafe, and forming a new band with a few old friends. The result is a heavy continuation of hill country and soul blues fusion that makes you thankful this music is still being made.