Blues singer-guitarist R.L. Burnside passed away yesterday morning at St. Francis hospital in Memphis, TN. The celebrated musician had reportedly been in the hospital for nearly three weeks up until his passing.
Referred to as one of the last great bluesmen of Mississippi to achieve commercial attention, his openness to musical experimentation led to his collaborations with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, who backed Burnside on his 1996 album A Ass Pocket Of Whiskey. His 2001 album Burnside On Burnside was nominated for best Traditional Blues Album on the Grammy Awards.
Matthew Johnson, whose Fat Possum Records released seven of Burnside’s albums, said that the musician passed away due to heart failure. Burnside suffered from a heart attack last year and underwent bypass surgery, from which he never fully recovered.
Burnside’s final album, A Bothered Mind, was issued last year. He is survived by his wife, Alice Mae, 12 children and many grandchildren. He was 78.