Burnin' Down the House

Hill-country blues

Back in the early '90s, Fat Possum Records popped up and brought the intoxicating sounds of North Mississippi hill-country blues to a wider audience. Not exactly Delta, and certainly not Chicago, the sound was built around raw, repeated guitar drones, and guttural call-and-response vocals. A revelation. The movement's top artist was R.L. Burnside, who died last year. It's good to see that hill-country blues is moving on to a new generation. R.L.'s bass-playing son Duwayne, who did a two-year stint with the North Mississippi Allstars, has formed his own band. Word is that he's branched out beyond the strict drone sound to include other blues styles and Memphis R&B. Still, you know what they say: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.