Benefit is set to help bluesman and family

By David Burke | Comments(0)
Daniel Burnside's blues song has a new verse.

After a traumatic brain injury in 2000 and the death of his father - legendary bluesman R.L. Burnside - in September, his family's home near Blue Grass, Iowa, was destroyed by fire on Good Friday morning.

A lightning strike is believed to be the cause of the fire, said Burnside's wife, Dawn. She said she was told by the fire chief that lightning struck the power lines the night before, when a series of powerful storms moved through the Quad-City region.

The Burnsides, their three sons and Daniel's cousin, who was staying with the family, all were in the house and escaped without injury.
"We were sleeping and the next thing we know the house was just full of smoke and the smoke alarms were going off," Dawn said. "We didn't have time to think. We were all in our pajamas and our two oldest sons were in their boxers."

Daniel and his cousin tried to return to the house, but "we turned around and the whole back end was in flames," she said. "There was no way. There was just too much smoke."
The Burnsides not only lost furniture and clothing, but also musical equipment and memorabilia. Daniel had three guitars, including a new one he had bought the previous week, in the home. He also had boxes of his father's memorabilia, including souvenir T-shirts, posters, albums and videotapes - including one tape of R.L.'s last performance at the House of Blues in Chicago.

"The TV and stereo we can replace," Dawn said. "The rest of it we just can't."
The Mississippi Valley Blues Society is helping the Burnsides and their family with a benefit from 2 to 7 p.m. today at Blueport Junction, 6606 W. River Drive, Davenport. The evening will include performances by area blues musicians, a 50/50 raffle and drink and burger specials, with all proceeds going to the family. The suggested donation is $5. Those attending also are asked to bring non-perishable food, household items and boys' clothing, size 18 months and sizes 8 and 14.
Also, an account has been set up for the family at the IH
Mississippi Valley Credit Union. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 1010, Moline, IL 61266.
Both the Burnsides say the benefit, organized by musician and family friend Hal Reed, is a blessing.
"I never thought about somebody like the Blues Society putting on a benefit," Dawn said. "We could definitely use all the help we can get."
"I didn't expect them to help with a benefit," Daniel said. "I really appreciate what they're doing. You don't know how much that means to me. I appreciate everything, and hope I can do something for them someday."

All six occupants of the home that burned are staying now with Dawn's parents, David and Susan Hungate, who live across the driveway.
"It's kind of crowded at the moment," she said of her parents' one-bedroom house.
The family is looking for an apartment somewhere in the area, but is not having much luck finding one, she added.
Her husband said he is taking the latest setback in stride.
"I'm hoping, praying every day that it gets better," he said. "I keep trying to keep going."
David Burke can be contacted at
(563) 383-2400 or [email protected]

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