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River Music Experience

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Kent Burnside & Matthew Curry (co-bill)

Friday, January 04, 2019 8:00 PM
Redstone Room
$10 adv / $12 day of show

Doors: 7pm / Show: 8pm
Age Restriction: 19+ (minors must be accompanied by parent or guardian) 
Web: |
Genre: Blues

All tickets are general admission. Purchasing a ticket does not guarantee a seat.
Kent Burnside is the grandson of blues legend R.L. Burnside, the nephew of blues musicians Duwayne and Dan Burnside, and the cousin of blues performer Cedric Burnside. Yet during a recent phone interview, the 36-year-old Kent recalls that when he decided to finally embark on his own professional blues career in 2006, his inspiration for doing so wasn't one of his famed family members.
"What actually inspired me," he says, "was Samuel Jackson."
In writer/director Craig Brewer's 2007 movie Black Snake Moan, the actor was cast as an aging blues man in rural Mississippi, a role modeled, in look and voice, on Burnside's grandfather. (Near the film's climax, Jackson performs a version of R.L.'s song "Stack-O-Lee.") And during filming, says Burnside, Jackson "had this party for the movie, and I got the chance to meet him."
He also had the chance to play for him. With a number of blues musicians performing at the gathering, Burnside remembers, "My cousin was playing, and my sister told him [Jackson] that I played guitar, too, and he was like, ‘Man, I'd like to listen to that.' So I ended up playing there, and he was like, ‘Man, you are good.'
"And after my grandpa passed," which occurred during Black Snake Moan's filming in September of 2005, "I knew this was what he really wanted me to do. And deep down inside, I wanted to do it. So I just took the chance."
It was a chance that paid off. The Des Moines-based Kent Burnside and his band, the New Generation - performing at the Redstone Room on May 23 - have toured extensively over the past two years, performing a blend of traditional Mississippi Delta blues and what the artist calls "a little bit of everything. Blues is my main thing that I really love to do, but I play a little rock. I love Elvis, I'll do a little Jimi Hendrix ... . Anything."
Raised in Mississippi, where he was frequently in the presence of his grandfather's musician friends, Burnside says, "I grew up around a lot of the great artists, you know. Listening to them playing out of their houses, they'd have a nice little crowd over ... . People just enjoying the music. But as a kid, believe it or not, I hated listenin' to the blues. It was kind of forced on me, because every weekend we would have parties, and the kids always had to help serve sandwiches and stuff."
"But after a while," he continues, "it just kind of rubbed off on me. I just kept listenin' and listenin', and I just kept watchin' the people, seeing how much enjoyment they were getting out of it."
The young Burnside also realized how much enjoyment there was in performing, or at least pretending to perform. "I'd just grab a stick and step up with them and be playing with the stick," he says with the laugh. "And after a while, I got tired of playing with the stick, and used to sneak out and grab the guitars. And they realized, you know, ‘Somebody's messing with the guitars,' because I kept breaking the strings."
He laughs again. "They saw that, you know, I really wanted to learn."
Though he had no formal training on the guitar, Burnside says, "I watched my grandfather mostly all the time," and quickly learned to adopt elements of R.L.'s guitar style.
"My grandfather didn't use a pick," he says. "He used his fingers; he did a lot of finger-pickin'. And most people, that's the first thing they realize - I don't play with a pick. I play a lot of lead [guitar], but I can make the same sound that people make with a pick with mythumb. I use my thumb to play every note, and actually, I'm pretty good with it, you know? I don't know how I do it, but it comes out clear."
With continued practice came growing appreciation for his grandfather's work, and the work of many others. "I loved listening to Buddy Guy, Albert King ... you know, just tons of blues," says Burnside. "But I loved different kinds of music. I listened to a lot of country, rock, Elvis ... . I listened to all kinds of stuff. When you limit yourself, you don't grow. And I learned every day. I still learn every day.
"As I got older," he continues, "my grandfather told me, ‘You've got a talent.' He said, ‘You should go for it. And if you don't make it, you don't. But you've got the right spirit, the right heart for it. I think you'll be okay.'"
Despite playing occasional backup for his grandfather and uncles, though, it was many years before Burnside sought a professional career of his own. "I've been playing all my life," he says, "but I always had a regular job. I worked for Wonder Bread, for the USDA ... . I knew I had to have something to fall back on, you know, just in case the music didn't make it."
Yet if Samuel L. Jackson's appraisal inspired Burnside to pursue a musical career, an encounter with Mississippi bluesman Jimbo Mathus - a longtime admirer of R.L. - solidified his decision.
"I met up with Jimbo when he was playing in Ames, Iowa. I went to watch him, and he talked me into doing a couple of songs." After the concert, says Burnside, "he said, ‘I like the way you play. You've got the right heart.' And he told me, ‘We're gonna be at Buddy Guy's,' and he asked me, would I come up there and play with him?"
Burnside accepted the offer to play at the famed Chicago blues club - "I ended up going and doing the whole show," he says of the concert - and was subsequently asked to join Mathus, and Guy himself, on a California tour. "I played at the Fillmore [in San Francisco], which was very, very exciting," he says. "I'm like, ‘Oh, man, this is my first show and I'm playing for thousands of people.' And it turned out great."
That first performance led to Burnside touring with Mathus for more than a year. "I got to play all these places and meet so many people," he says. "It was exciting that people just loved my music, and I knew that sooner or later I was gonna be able to do my own thing."
During a return trip to California in 2006, Burnside finally had his chance. "What happened was a guy booked me in California," he says, "and I didn't even have a band. He said, ‘I just want you to come on up,' and he wanted to book all these shows, and I'm like, ‘Well, I don't have a band.' And he said, ‘Well, get a band together.'"
Burnside laughs. "So I took on about seven or eight shows, and then I had two months to get a band together."
With the contacts he'd made over the previous year, though, Burnside says that finding musicians wasn't especially difficult. "I'd see people at the shows and they'd be like, ‘Man, if you ever want us to play for you, here's my number,' and so I had about 20 or 30 numbers. So I just kind of looked through the numbers - I wanted clean-cut guys that, you know, just love the music - and I called 'em up.
"And there you go," he adds with a laugh.
With two months before their debut as Kent Burnside & the New Generation - composed of lead vocalist and guitarist Burnside, Jacob Best (percussion), Emmet Butts (bass guitar), Ren Olstrand (rhythm guitar), Gabe Meyer (lap steel), Rich Wilcox (violin and harmonica), and Kent's uncle Dan Burnside (bass guitar) - the group's frontman admits that, "At first I was like, ‘Man, how am I gonna do this? In two months?'
"But these guys showed a lot of dedication," he continues. "I mean, some of them drove four-and-a-half, five hours to practice. And I play all instruments, you know. The drums not too good, but I knew what I wanted to show them, so I just put all the music together and showed them what I wanted."
Following the group's California debut, they were quickly booked into a tour in Utah, and as Burnside says, "It just took off from there." Kent Burnside & the New Generation perform regularly throughout the Midwest and South - their schedule can be found at ( - and the band has released two CDs: last year's Cotton Field Disco and the new Country Boy with City Dreams.
"I am a country boy," says Burnside. "I am. But I always wanted big things in life. I was born in the country, but I didn't want to just stay there. I knew there was more for me and I deserved it, and I got it. And I just feel so good about it, you know? And I'm gonna do like my grandfather said. ‘I'm gonna play for the rest of my life.'"

Matthew Curry has built a multi-generational audience through a deep, pure connection forged with fans that have encountered him via headline appearances and cherished support opportunities from some of the most successful touring artists in the history of music.   Simply, he is a singer-songwriter writing songs that draw from personal inspirations, incorporating elements of blues, rock, southern rock, and old school country in to his repertoire.  His guitar playing is becoming world renowned, yet for Curry his perspective is broader sharing, "Of course the guitar is a HUGE part of my music, but something I really like to focus on is trying to make good songs. Songs people can relate to. Songs people immediately want to sing along to or tap their feet to.  It is reaffirming to experience this wide spectrum of audience coming out, and when I'm on stage seeing a mix of young, old, and middle age, alongside an even split of males and females singing along to every song, I know that I'm headed down the right path."
Following the release of If I Don't Got You (2014) and Electric Religion (2015), Curry returns with the new EP Shine On.  He is a prolific writer who aims to write and record a new release annually.  When asked about the new songs, he prefers to leave interpretation in some cases to the listener, while being transparently forthcoming with others.  The opener, "Blink of an Eye" finds the songwriter channeling inspiration from the Black Crowes, Eagles perhaps a bit of Chris Stapleton as he sings of the woes losing a woman, out of selfishness. The harder edged rocker "Caroline" is a feel good track.  Curry offers, "the song presents that scenario where many young guys and gals face a young lady's father not pleased about the relationship, and the challenges of sneaking away for the sake of love.  This one is a really fun one to play cause it always seems very easy for the audience to dance and sing along with it."  The title track "Shine On" displays the artist's connection to the beauty of Memphis Soul and Muscle Shoals Southern Gospel Rock that shines with simple purity as he delivers the uplifting yet heavy lyrics. "Matter Of Time" follows with a softer, easy listening tone.  Curry shares, "We've all experienced love that we thought would last eternity, and didn't quite end up working that way."  The final track "Draw The Line" is a bit ambiguous by intent leaving the listener to find personal meaning.  Curry continues to grow year after year as a writer, and is the antithesis of those who created in a confined space.  The songs reflect his style and sound yet no two sound exactly the same.  There is nothing cookie cutter about his approach or execution, and that trend seems to continue throughout his three offerings thus far.
Alongside a ton of headline dates across the U.S., and isolated appearances overseas, Matthew Curry has had the honor of touring with the Doobie Bros, Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Journey, and others. He shares, "I've definitely learned a lot in doing this. And I've also been lucky enough to have befriended these guys as well. I've learned how the "'big boys' do it. and by that I mean a lot of different things. The production that goes into the shows, the energy and excitement that they put out when playing a live show, and many other things. But most importantly, in finding a great friend in Steve Miller, I've learned tons and tons about the music business. Sitting with Steve, he has enlightened me on what not to do and what to do. I've learned a lot about publishing, and the importance of owning your songs, and to have much better business.   Steve has really taught me a lot, and really looked out for me when I was having difficult times with people I was working with.  He is simply an awesome person I feel truly indebted to.  Steve Miller articulated his thoughts about the young player to Ultimate Classic Rock offering, "..,wonderful guitar player [and] great songwriter in the Stevie Ray Vaughan area of virtuosity and originality."  While Peter Frampton shared to 96.5 The Fox, "... someone asked me in an interview today if I thought there could be anymore guitar heroes. Well, hell yes of course and Matthew is one who will prove that to be true."
Curry is a Midwesterner who proudly articulates it is an honor to call that part of the country home.  He offers, "We're more slow pace, say what you mean and mean what you say, decent type people around here. Somewhat unassuming. I think it also translates to my music as well - it is straight forward without the fads or gimmicks of the day."  He grew up with a father deeply interested in the arts, and as he thinks back on a man who had such an influence prior to his passing, he reveals, "We both shared a passion for music that went deeper than anyone could know. My father's dream was to be getting to do what I'm doing for a living. Though it didn't quite work out that way for him, he had a great ear and great advice to help me as I was growing up. Losing him was the hardest thing that has ever happened to me, not a day goes by where I don't think about him, and not a night goes by where I don't lay down in bed and think about how much I miss him and the bound we had through music. Often times the thoughts that cross my mind don't only involve music though, I often picture in my mind floating down the river in the canoe with him, going fishing and camping with him and my brother, and learning about working on motorcycles from him, simple stuff like that makes me smile and remember all the great times we had together!"
Matthew Curry has played a hundreds and hundreds of dates throughout his young career, and as he continues to tour, he now finds himself with a very stable line-up of collaborators.  On bass, Tim Brickner who has been with him the longest.  His drummer is Francis Valentino, a heavy hitter with a dynamic stage presence.  His rhythm guitarist Mike Nellas makes Curry's playing shine in the spotlight, while he is a strong background. The ensemble is billed simply as Matthew Curry, ditching the prior moniker simply per "The Fury" kept getting confused with "the Furry" or "the Flurries."
Matthew Curry continues to gain notoriety and his career in its essence is the  definition of a bright future.  It is his opinion that Rock n Roll is the genre within music that truly and deeply speaks from and to the soul. He simply aspires to build on the tradition that impacts listener in a way that is best shared as he states, "When you hear a great Blues or a great rock song, you can often get chills or it can make the hair on your neck stand up. I think the main reason being the soulfulness of both styles of music. That's one thing I've always strived for was to pour my soul out when I sing, play, or write. Because if you can do that, I feel like the better chance you will have of people latching onto your music."

*Seating Disclaimer*

The Redstone Room at River Music Experience is a standing room only concert venue. All tickets are General Admission unless otherwise stated. For the comfort of our guests, a limited amount of seating is available on a first come first serve basis:
  • Reserved Tables: a limited number of tables are for sale in advance, sold through our ticketing service. You will need to add both your General Admission tickets AND your Reserved Tables to the cart for purchase. Reserve Tables come with 4 seats to a table. 
  • General Admission Tables: A number of tables are available when doors open. First come first serve.  
  • Disability: If you require handicap accessible seating, you will need to purchase your General Admission ticket first, and then call the box office to reserve up to 2 seats. Tables must be purchased separately.
*Ticket Disclaimer*

All tickets for RME events are sold via Eventbrite and all carry applicable transaction fees. Tickets can be purchased the day of event online, at the RME Box office during business hours, and at the door (subject to availability). All tickets purchased with credit cards and/or cash will be subject to all applicable service fees whether the purchase takes place online, over the phone, or at the RME box office. Ticket fees also still apply for admission at the door.


River Music Experience
129. N. Main Street
Davenport, IA 52801
Mon: 12pm - 5pm
Tues: 12pm - 6pm
Wed: 12pm - 5pm
Thurs: 12pm - 6pm
Fri: 12pm - 5pm
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

*Box Office hours may vary due to event schedules

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
Most shows in the Redstone Room are 19+, unless otherwise noted, but minors may attend if accompanied by a parent or guardian.
What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?
RME & The Redstone Room are in the heart of downtown Davenport, and accessible by public transportation or cabs & ride-share apps (Uber, Lyft). There is a paid parking garage right next to the RME that only costs a couple of dollars for an evening. When using the ramp, make sure that you prepay at the pay stations in the garage stairwell or on the Parkmobile app. Free street parking is available, but sometimes hard to find on concert nights.
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
You may call the RME's box office at (563)326-1333 or email
What's the refund policy?
Purchased tickets are nonrefundable.