R. L. Burnside

Birth Name:
R. L. Burnside
Birth Date:
November 23, 1926
Birth Place:
Harmontown, Mississippi
Death Date:
September 1, 2005
Place of Death:
St. Francis Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
Cause of Death:
Heart failure
Cemetery Name:
Free Springs C.M.E. Church
Claim to Fame:
R. L. Burnside was a Delta blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. He played music for much of his life but received little recognition before the early 1990s. During his resurgence in popularity he won 4 W.C. Handy Blues Awards and was nominated for another 11 awards in 8 years as well as one for a Grammy. In 2014 he was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, Tennessee. For the last decade of his life, Burnside was championed by the international media, earned six figure sums and outsold every other black blues icon except BB King and the late John Lee Hooker.

In addition to his 35 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren, members of his extended family continue to play blues in the Holly Springs area and in wider circles:

  • His son Duwayne Burnside has played guitar with the North Mississippi Allstars. He has operated music venues named after Burnside and Alice Mae in Chulahoma, Memphis, Waterford, and Holly Springs.
  • His grandson Cedric Burnside has released six albums with four musical partners and toured with Kenny Brown and others.
  • His son Garry Burnside used to play bass guitar with Junior Kimbrough, North Mississippi Allstars, and Hill Country Revue; in 2006 he released an album with Cedric.
  • His son-in-law Calvin Jackson (died 2015) recorded with blues musicians of Burnside’s generation and younger.
  • His grandson Kent Burnside is also a touring blues musician. Kent is currently touring with the Flood Brothers and released an album with them in 2016.
  • His grandson Cody (died 2012) was also a musician. Kenny Brown has released four albums and toured with the family and his own band.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Free Springs C.M.E. Church

Co Road 511

Como, Mississippi, 38619


North America

Grave Location Description

To get to the Free Springs C.M.E. Church, turn south from Highway 310 onto County Road 511. The GPS location of the turn off is 34.536883, -89.650300

As you approach the cemetery, park in front and walk around to the back of this small, rural cemetery. His heart-shaped monument is in the back near the forest.

Grave Location GPS

34.518317, -89.652383

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