November 19, 2006

Michigan's Musical Connection: Eddie Burns

MMC logoMichigan's Musical Connection is a weekly review of musicians and composers with roots to the Great Lake State. Some artists may be well known while others may be our little secret. From one end of the musical spectrum to the other, you never know what will show up next.

This week's artist profile is blues guitarist, Eddie Burns.

Great Lakes Folk Festival -
Eddie Burns has carried the torch of African-American blues in Detroit since 1948. His presentation of the early country blues styles in a contemporary band setting is unique in Michigan. Although he has taken his blues singing, guitar playing, and harmonica playing to Washington, D.C. and on European tours, Eddie is one of the few pure blues musicians to live and perform continuously in Michigan. He was honored with a Michigan Heritage Award in 1994.

Eddie grew up in the small Mississippi Delta towns of Wells and Dublin, where he heard country blues recordings in his grandfather's juke joint and listened to his father play blues on harmonica, guitar, and piano. His greatest influences from country blues recordings came from Tommy McClennan, Memphis Minnie, and Big Bill Broonzy on guitar and from John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson on harmonica. The harmonica was Eddie's first instrument as a boy. Playing "one string guitar" on the side of the house led Eddie to playing the six-string guitar.

Vintage Guitar Magazine -
An intensely proud man, this energetic 74-year-old is testimony to the longevity you can maintain when you’re focused and doing the music you love. He is still vital and intense, yet relaxed.

Snake Eyes’ version of “Your Cash Ain’t Nothing But Trash” says it all. “It ain’t the money,” he says. “It’s about that feeling you get when everybody’s having a good time.”

Hastings Street is long gone, but with Burns’ Snake Eyes, you be right back there at Henry’s Swing Club waitin’ for John Lee to walk in and announce, “Yeah people, we’s really havin’ a ball.” Sho nuff!

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