Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues with Dee Alexander will appear at Freedom Hall Nathan Manilow Theater on February 14, 2020, at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $30 each and are available here.
Alligator Records Recording Artist, Billy Branch, was discovered by Willie Dixon, the “father of modern Chicago Blues” and began touring with the Willie Dixon Chicago All-Stars. Billy has played on over 150 different recordings, including 12 under his own name and received three Grammy nominations. His internationally recognized “Blues in Schools Program,” is committed to teaching both young and old about the Blues as the roots of America’s music.
Billy Branch was discovered by Willie Dixon, the “father of modern Chicago Blues,” while Billy was still in college. Willie encouraged Billy to finish his college education, which he did, but instead of going to law school after receiving his political science degree, Billy began touring with the Willie Dixon Chicago AllStars. This gave Billy the unique opportunity to travel and work as an understudy for the legendary Carey Bell who was planning to leave the All-Stars and form his own band. When Carey took his leave, the young Billy Branch took his place, touring with Willie Dixon for 6 years.
Since those early days, Billy has played on over 150 different recordings, including 12 under his own name. He’s recorded with Willie Dixon, Johnny Winter, Lou Rawls, Koko Taylor, Eddy Clearwater, Honeyboy Edwards, Syl Johnson, Lurrie Bell, Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Primer, and Taj Mahal, just to name a few. In addition, he has received three Grammy nominations (losing one nomination to BB King and Eric Clapton). He served two consecutive terms on the Grammy Board of Governors and founded the Grammy Blues Committee. In addition, he has won multiple W.C. Handy Awards from the Blues Foundation, an Emmy Award, an Addy Award (this is like an Oscar for TV ads), two Chicago Music Awards, and numerous humanitarian achievement awards. Billy Branch has become the ambassador of the Chicago Blues. During his 6 week tour of Turkey, he represented the USA in Turkey’s Parliament, teaching political party leaders to play the harmonica! Thousands of fans showed up every night of the week to experience the authentic Chicago Blues! He and his band, the Sons of Blues have delivered this cultural legacy around the world, having made over 70 international tours.
The 2007 Chicago Blues Festival honored the thirtieth anniversary of Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues with a 3-hour performance. In fact, they also headlined the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival.
Billy is a Blues education pioneer. He was one of the first artists to develop a Blues in the Schools curriculum. Since 1978, in addition to recording and performing, he’s taught thousands of children around the world. His internationally recognized “Blues in Schools Program,” is committed to teaching both young and old about the Blues as the roots of America’s music. He has brought his interdisciplinary program to Europe, South America, Asia, and most recently to Mexico where he taught his two-week program in Spanish. In addition, he teaches in the Grammy Museum Music Revolution Project.
Dee Alexander is one of Chicago’s most gifted and respected female vocalist/songwriters. Her talents span every music genre, from Gospel to R&B, from Blues to Neo-Soul and Jazz. Alexander boasts long and fruitful associations with Chicago’s jazz elite; including Ramsey Lewis, Orbert Davis, Nicole Mitchell, and more. She received the Chicagoan of the Year Jazz award and the 3Arts Award for Music.
Her talents span every music genre, from Gospel to R&B, from Blues to Neo-Soul. Yet her true heart and soul are experienced in their purest form through her performance of Jazz music. From a soft, sultry traditional ballad, to a contemporary Jazz-Funk groove; from a high flying swing to a scat-filled romp, Dee Alexander delivers each style with a passion and love of music that comes across in each and every note, and with a style and grace that is truly her own. Besides being a phenomenal headliner in her own right, Dee has shared the stage with Ahmad Jamal, David Sanborn, Earl Klugh, Gerald Albright, Roy Ayers, Joshua Redman, and The O’Jays.
Not being one to ever feel that the spotlight has to belong exclusively to her, Ms. Alexander has lent her considerable talents as a backup vocalist to the live performances of an array of many other well-known artists i.e., Michael Bolton, Phil Perry, Willie Clayton, and Zora Young. Dee has also formed the Evolution Ensemble which is an acoustic group that consists of string instruments and percussion with a strong emphasis on original compositions.
Billy Branch has become a beacon and model for his times, as an artist, and social/cultural activist. Billy Branch is a Bluesman; Billy Branch is the Blues!
– Blues Producer, Chicago Beau