Bailey uses new technology as a window onto tradition in more ways than one. He says discovered his first harmonica mentor, Ole Miss University professor Adam Gussow, through a series of videos Gussow posted on YouTube. Bailey's new album features a duet with Gussow -- a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition."
As Bailey develops his innovative harmonica technique, the multi-talented young musician is also completing a pre-med program in pediatric neurology at the University of Memphis.
"I don't really know very many harmonica players-slash-doctors," Bailey says. "But I'm far too heavily invested in both fields to give either one up at this point."
'Memphis Grooves': NPR tips harmonica player Brandon Bailey
NPR Music features another rising Memphis artist today: This time, it's innovative harmonica player Brandon Bailey, promoting his debut album, Memphis Grooves. While firmly rooted in traditional blues, Bailey also pushes the envelope by using a percussive vocal technique he calls "harp-boxing," and by using a loop pedal to create multilayered harmonica arrangements. Bailey was the 2008 winner of the Orpheum Star Search, and the blues harp isn't his only field of study: