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Brandon O. Bailey / Press

“The harmonica is a staple of American blues, beginning with the Memphis jug bands of the 1920s. In the 1960s, blues-influenced artists like The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton brought the harmonica into the sound of mainstream rock and roll. These days, however, few young artists pick it up. Twenty-year-old Brandon Bailey is an exception. His debut album, Memphis Grooves, brings a new take to traditional blues harmonica. As Bailey plays, he uses his mouth as a percussive instrument, a technique called beat-boxing. He also uses a loop pedal to layer and repeat the phrases he creates. ”

“While I had been aware of Brandon O. Bailey before I actually met him it was not until Memphis while I was walking through a breeze-way at my hotel that the familiar riffs of Jason Ricci’s “Snowflakes and Horses” caught my attention. In a park across from the hotel a young man sat playing a most compelling harmonica solo. Nothing doing but I had to check this out more closely. Before crossing the street to the park the familiar J. Geils “Whammer Jammer”, began followed by the Sonny Boy Williamson/Willie Dixon tune “Bye Bye Bird”. I was totally captivated as this tall, angular, handsome teenager as he shifted his effects and swung into “Billie Jean”, a Michael Jackson classic. Needless to say, that I hung around for the total performance so that I could learn more.”