News

Billy Branch To Be Inducted Into The Blues Hall Of Fame

[12/10/2019]
HARMONICA MASTER BILLY BRANCH TO BE INDUCTED INTO
THE BLUES HALL OF FAME

Ceremony To Be Held In Memphis In May 2020



“As a committed Chicago blues harmonica player, Branch has almost no rival…He’s set the gold standard.”
--DownBeat


“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


Tuesday, December 10 -- The Blues Foundation today announced that harmonica giant Billy Branch will be inducted into the 41st class of The Blues Hall Of Fame in May 2020. With his inventive, deeply rooted playing and gritty, soulful vocals, Branch carries on the Chicago blues tradition that he learned first-hand from harmonica icons including Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Carey Bell and Willie Dixon. Along with his band, The Sons Of Blues, Branch has traveled the world, creating living, breathing and evolving Chicago blues for over four decades. The Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at the Halloran Centre at the Orpheum, 225 S. Main Street, Memphis, Tennessee.

Being inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame is a career highlight, according to Branch. "My life's mission has been simple and yet complex; to make more people aware of the beauty and significance of the blues, the roots of American music. Throughout my sojourn I have been blessed to have known and been mentored by some of the greatest that ever lived. It is a tremendous honor to humbly be included among their ranks."

Branch's latest release is Roots And Branches–The Songs Of Little Walter. The album finds Branch and his band, The Sons Of Blues, breathing life and fire into their reimaginings of the songs of the renowned Little Walter Jacobs. Little Walter was one of the principal architects of the Chicago blues sound and one of the most influential blues harmonica players who ever lived. With a huge musical vocabulary and dynamic versatility, Branch incorporates soul, funk and rock elements to his playing. 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 musical credits, 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. The entire set was broadcast on NPR. Branch 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.