Monday, June 13, 2011

Kenny Brown

Kenny Brown is a blues slide guitarist from Nesbit, Mississippi.Born in Selma, Alabama, in 1953, his family moved to Nesbit, Mississippi, when he was less than a year old. Kenny developed an interest in playing guitar at the age of ten and began teaching himself the basics. Two years later, the bluesman Joe Callicott moved in next door, and Kenny’s fate was sealed. This unlikely pair would spend hours together, whether in the morning before Kenny had to be at school or in the evening as soon as Kenny came home.
On some nights, Kenny would hear the music coming from Othar Turner's place down the way. Growing up in this part of Mississippi, Kenny was surrounded by musicians: Junior Kimbrough, Fred McDowell, and R. L. Burnside. Their influence wasn’t wasted on this young white boy, and Kenny made sure to prove himself to them all.
Kenny became skilled in the North Mississippi Hill Country blues style popularized by his mentor R. L. Burnside,he began his career by apprenticing with Mississippi Joe Callicott, Johnny Woods, and Mississippi Fred McDowell.He has also cited Muddy Waters,Jessie Mae Hemphill,Junior Kimbrough,Johnny Winter,and Johnny Shines as influences.In 1971 Brown began performing with R. L. Burnside.By the age of eighteen he was playing with Burnside’s band; over the next thirty or so years together, they would tour all over the world. Burnside often referred to Kenny as his “adopted son”and affectionately called him "white boy on guitar" and "my white son." Both Brown and Burnside have noted the singularity of Brown's being a white musician playing in the previously predominantly African American genre of North Mississippi Hill Country blues.Brown's guitar work was featured in the 2006 film Black Snake Moan, where he provided backing for star Samuel L. Jackson's vocals. He can also be seen in the film's climax as a guitarist in a blues band, playing alongside Burnside's grandson Cedric.
He has also performed with rock bands Widespread Panic and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. He has recorded one album for the Fat Possum Records label (Stingray), and his most recent double-album "Can't Stay Long" was released in June 2011 on Devil Down Records .

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