Billy Branch & The Sons Of Blues' New Album Set For July 5 Release
BILLY BRANCH & THE SONS OF BLUES' NEW ALBUM,
ROOTS AND BRANCHES--THE SONGS OF LITTLE WALTER,
SET FOR JULY 5 RELEASE
“A potent blend of rootsy integrity and exploratory zeal.” –Living Blues
“Branch has a warm, open vocal style and a full command of the blues harp, from wailing notes to chugging rhythms.” –The New York Times
Alligator Records has set a July 5 release date for Roots And Branches–The Songs Of Little Walter, the dynamic new release from Billy Branch & The Sons Of Blues. The album finds Branch and the band boldly reimagining the songs of the renowned Little Walter Jacobs. Jacobs was one of the principal architects of the Chicago blues sound and one of the most influential blues harmonica players who ever lived.
According to Branch, “We were determined not to make this a “typical” Little Walter tribute recording. We are proud to present an album with elements of soul, funk, and even a little bit of gospel. Our goal was to competently and respectfully produce a Little Walter-themed recording with a different twist, while preserving the integrity of Little Walter’s innovative style.”
Roots And Branches, recorded in Chicago and co-produced by Billy Branch, Rosa Branch and longtime Sons Of Blues pianist Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi, features 15 songs written by and or made famous by Little Walter. Each song is played with equal amounts of Branch’s deeply rooted reverence and up-to-the-minute innovation. The music is as timeless in Branch’s and The Sons Of Blues’ interpretations as in Walter’s feral originals. Along with Branch and Ariyoshi, the band features guitarist Giles Corey, bassist Marvin Little and drummer Andrew “Blaze” Thomas. At the end of the album, Little Walter’s daughter, Marion Diaz, shares a few anecdotes of life with her legendary father.
Blues giant Billy Branch is among today’s greatest harmonica players. With his inventive, deeply rooted playing and gritty, soulful vocals, Branch carries on the Chicago blues tradition that he learned first-hand from icons including Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Carey Bell, Willie Dixon and many others. His famous teachers made it clear to anyone who would listen that Branch was the heir apparent to the Chicago blues harmonica throne. With his instantly recognizable sound and his band, The Sons Of Blues, Branch has traveled the world, creating his signature brand of Chicago blues for over four decades.
With a huge blues vocabulary and dynamic versatility, Branch incorporates soul, funk and rock elements to his playing. His upper register licks and his emotional, melodic ballad playing define his sound even further. He is a gruff and potent vocalist, a groundbreaking solo artist, an in-demand session player and consummate band leader. He is a three-time Grammy nominee, a three-time Blues Music Award winner, a two-time Keeping The Blues Alive Award winner (for Education) and a two-time Living Blues Critics’ Award winner. Branch has recorded eleven albums under his own name and has appeared on scores of other recordings.
In addition to his recordings, Branch is also a tireless educator. His Blues In The Schools program has earned him praise both inside and outside of the music world. Branch shares his knowledge of the music with students in Chicago and other cities around the world, where he teaches blues history as well as providing instrumental instruction to children. In 1996, members of his classes, with Branch at the helm, performed on the main stage at the Chicago Blues Festival, which was broadcast on NPR. He has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show and CBS’s Sunday Morning and can be seen in the feature films Adventures In Babysitting and Next Of Kin.
Billy Branch & The Sons Of Blues can be found performing in clubs, concert halls and festivals all over the world. From the United States and Canada to South and Central America, the Caribbean, China, Africa, Israel and all throughout Europe, Branch and his band soulfully deliver their music with a concentrated, raw Windy City authority. Now, with Roots And Branches–The Songs Of Little Walter, Billy Branch & The Sons Of Blues continue to spread the gospel of the blues, reigniting the magical, timeless power of the music of Little Walter Jacobs, and in turn the soul-cleansing power of the real, living, evolving Chicago blues, as only Billy Branch can play them.