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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wee Wee Hours - Mike Branton

After making a name for himself as a young guitar prodigy in the Southern
Ontario region,Mike Branton has evolved into a triple threat.
His signature fluent and exciting guitar playing is as potent as
ever.Alex Erasmi(View Magazine) described it as “Michael Bloomfield
meets T-Bone Walker at a Buddy Guy concert style of playing”,adding
“continually inventive improvisational soloing” in a View Magazine
feature article. Mike has now emerged as a highly talented and original
singer and songwriter as well.

The Oakville-based Branton is not just borrowing from the classic blues
repertoire but adding to it in the form of original compositions. His
talent as a singer/songwriter was showcased on his 2001 solo debut,
Dirty Feet.In a review of Dirty Feet Warren Dallin wrote.”In short, this
disc defines the blues”.

In the studio for Dirty Feet.

Since then, Mike has been honing his songwriting chops, and is currently
in the studio recording a keenly-anticipated new album.
Branton first picked up the guitar at age nine, primarily learning by
ear. “I’d try to pick things up off the radio or from albums,” he
recalls. As a teenager he studied guitar under Justin Abedin(Jacksoul)
who introduced Mike to numerous styles and approaches to music
outside of and directly related to Blues music.

The appetite of the musically voracious younger Branton was fed with
the likes of records from the early British blues boom (Peter Green,Jeff
Beck,The Animals) as well as pioneers :Albert King, Muddy Waters, and
John Lee Hooker. “As I got older the guys I started to gravitate towards
were like Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and Luther Tucker, the
disciples of the big guys. I liked the younger guys for their attitude”.
Like any other blues-loving kid Jimi Hendrix had a predictable impact.
“After you hear him you just realize you have to keep trying and hope
for the best,” he says.
photo: Dave Woods

photo: Dave Wood

At 17, and still in high school, he began playing in blues-rooted bar
bands, his skills having caught the ears of older players. One such
musician was Stu Heydon, described by Branton as “my mentor.He
was the first one to take me on the road, and through him I got to
meet a lot of Chicago and Detroit area blues guys.”

By the mid ‘90s, Mike was touring Western Canada with Stu Heydon&
The Blues Persuaders,as well as backing up blues legends
George”Wildchild”Butler,Chicago Pete,and Zoom at the Heydon produced
Carmel Rotary Soul & Blues Review 97-99 in Carmel,California.
A real confidence boost came on a visit to the blues mecca of Chicago,
as Mike reminisces. “I hit the open stage at Buddy Guy’s club, and they
wouldn’t let me off. One of the guys there was Koko Taylor’s guitar
player, and he kept calling me back up!”

Fronting his own bands helped Branton,now 35 discover his own voice as
both a blues singer and songwriter. “I don’t think I found the beginning
of my groove until I was about 22,” he recalls. “That’s when I thought
to myself ‘it’s time to get serious.’ You can only be a guitar player in
a blues band for so long before you have to bring something else to the
table. You have to be able to sing and to carry a night by yourself”.
If you like what I’m doing, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! - ”LIKE”

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