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HOT SHOW - April 30-May 1: Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues at Rosa's

Rosa's Lounge (Chicago)

Billy Branch and Sons of the Blues will perform a birthday tribute to Little Walter at Rosa's on Friday April 30 and Saturday May 1 at Rosa's Lounge, Chicago. Doors 8 p.m. Show 9 p.m.

Tickets: Rosa's Lounge

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 living, breathing and evolving Chicago blues for over four decades. In addition, he's dedicated years of work to the Blues In The Schools program, helping children—the next generation of blues artists and fans—develop a love for and understanding of the genre.

Branch is among the very last living bluesmen to have been tutored and mentored by the original blues giants. The young bluesman was able to absorb the tradition and over the years develop a style and sound all his own. With a huge blues vocabulary and dynamic versatility, Branch brings elements of soul, funk and rock 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.

The new Alligator album, Roots And Branches–The Songs Of Little Walter, finds Billy Branch & The Sons Of Blues doing what they do best. Branch and the band breathe life and fire into their reimaginings of the renowned songs of Little Walter Jacobs, one of the principal architects of the Chicago blues sound and one of the most influential blues harmonica players who ever lived. 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 songs seem to jump out of the speakers and come alive. They are as timeless in Branch's and The Sons Of Blues' reinventions 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.

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