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Histories: Chicago Blues: Billy Branch On How The Blues Is A Foundation Of American Music
Billy Branch was drawn to the blues when he was a kid, when he'd hop on the train at any hour of the day to find and learn from the harmonica players bearing their souls in West Side Chicago. The three-time GRAMMY-nominated blues harmonica maestro has been playing for almost 50 years now, and he's still on a mission to keep the blues alive.
"Please embrace the blues more strongly, because this is where it all came from!" Branch pleads with a smile in the latest episode of Histories: Chicago Blues, a new, limited-run video series presented by the Recording Academy's Chicago Chapter.
Launched this week, with the debut episode featuring modern blues artist and Chicago native Melody Angel, Histories: Chicago Blues chronicles the story of Chicago blues as told by artists from across three generations of the blues who've helped shape the genre. The three-part series, featuring interviews conducted by GRAMMY-nominated blues artist Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith, concludes later this week with an episode featuring blues legend Bob Stroger.
In the newest episode of Histories: Chicago Blues, Billy Branch talks about his journey as "a student of the blues," some of the iconic Chicago blues clubs, and the need to celebrate the Black creators of the blues as forefathers of American music.
For the past 60 years, the Recording Academy's Chicago Chapter has recognized and celebrated the creative accomplishments of our members across the Midwest, fought for their collective rights, and supported them in times of need. We are proud of our legacies and excited to continue looking ahead. Here's to the next 60.