Billy Branch has followed a very non-traditional path to the blues. Born in Chicago in 1951 and raised in Los Angeles, he first picked up a harmonica at age ten. He discovered the blues after returning to Chicago in 1969 to complete a political science degree at the University of Illinois. Soon he became immersed in the local blues scene, learning from such stalwarts as Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Junior Wells, and Carey Bell. Billy's big break came in 1975 when he beat Chicago legend Little Mac Simmons in a harmonica battle. Soon he was recording for Barrelhouse Records and working as apprentice harpist in Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All-Stars. He eventually replaced Carey Bell and worked with Dixon for six years. He formed the Sons Of Blues (S.O.B.s), featuring the talented offspring of famous blues artists, who toured Europe, played the Berlin Jazz Festival, and recorded for Alligator Records' Grammy-nominated Living Chicago Blues Sessions. Blues legends with whom Billy has performed and/or recorded include Muddy Waters, Big Walter Horton, Son Seals, Lonnie Brooks, Koko Taylor, Johnny Winter, and Albert King. In 1990 he appeared with harpists Carey Bell, Junior Wells, and James Cotton on the W.C. Handy award winner Harp Attack! His most recent recordings for Polygram are The Blues Keep Following Me Around and Satisfy Me. Billy is also passing on the blues tradition to a new generation through his "Blues in the Schools" program. He has taught in the Chicago school system for over twenty years as part of the Urban Gateways Project. Blues producer Chicago Beau has written, "Billy Branch has become a beacon and model for his times as an artist and social activist...Billy Branch is a blues-man; Billy Branch is the blues".
Highlights Include: - Choosing the Right Harp
- Keys and Basic Theory
- Bending, Hand Vibrato, Octaves, and Other Techniques
- Tips on Amplification and Playing with a Band
- And Much More!