“Whether he’s wailing a Freddy King inspired blues ballad, stomping out low down and dirty blues, or getting down with a super funky New Orleans groove, Bryan Lee is gonna grab your soul and squeeze it till you scream in blues ecstasy.”— Duke Robillard
Born on March 16, 1943 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, Bryan Lee lost his eye sight and was legally blind by the age of eight.
Bryan Lee had an avid interest in early Rock and Roll and Blues Music which was fostered through the 1950’s late night listening sessions from the Nashville Music radio stations such as WLAC. This is where Lee was first introduced to the sounds of Elmore James, T-Bone Walker and many other influential bluesmen.
The man now known as “Braille Blues Daddy” started out playing for Midwest crowds at the early age of 15. In the late 1950’s, Bryan Lee opened for Bill Haley & The Comets with his band "The Glaciers" performing cover music of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard.
By the early 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s, Bryan Lee’s musical interest turned to the sound of Chicago Blues while touring throughout the Midwest. He was heavily influenced by Chicago Bluesmen Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Hubert Sumlin and Freddie King.
While on tour in the 1980’s Bryan opened for one of his hero’s Muddy Water’s. After the show Muddy told Bryan: “Bryan, stay with this, one day you will be a living legend.” – “I went home and I cried” says Lee. Although his acceptance in the Chicago Blues Scene didn’t come until later in his career, Bryan has the respect of his friends and peers such as Buddy Guy and Lonnie Brooks. Bryan Lee and his band frequently pack the Legend’s house performing authentic blues.
In the late 1970’s Bryan fell in love with the city of New Orleans and eventually moved to the Crescent City on Jan 6, 1982. Bryan Lee has been a fixture of the French Quarter music scene ever since. His guitar brings the Chicago styled blues of Luther Allison, as well as Albert King and Albert Collins down to the Crescent City. Bryan Lee made his stand, performing 5 nights a week for over 14 years at the Old Absinthe House. Bryan Lee is referred to as “A New Orleans Blues Institution” a name given to him by Quint Davis, producer of NOLa Jazz and Heritage Festival, which Bryan has performed at for 26 years now.
During the 1990’s Bryan and the Jump Street Five Band initiated a long recording deal with Justin Time Records from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.The collaboration and Lee’s individual sets would take him to recording 13 albums over the coming years.
- 2009 My Lady Don't Love My Lady
- 2007 Katrina Was Her Name Nominated for BMA Best Contemporary Blues CD 2008 Won German Critics Award for Outstanding Blues CD of 2008
- 2006 Live and Dangerous DVD 2005 Live and Dangerous CD 2003 Greatest Hits
- 2002 Six String Therapy
- 2000 Crawfish Lady
- 1998 Friday Night at the Old Absinthe House
- 1998 Saturday Night Live at the Old Absinthe House
- 1995 Blues Is 1995 Heat Seeking Missile
- 1994 Braille Blues Daddy
- 1993 Memphis Bound
- 1991 Bryan Lee and the Jump Street Five
In 1995, Bryan shared his stage with KWS when Kenny was just 13 years old. Bryan was so blown away by Kenny’s guitar playing that he invited Kenny to be on his “Friday Night – Saturday Night Live from The Old Absinthe House “recording along with the great James Cotton and Frank Marino. Kenny also made a special guest appearance on Bryan’s latest CD: ” My Lady Don’t Love My Lady “ (2010 Justin Time)along with Buddy Guy.
After the closing of The Old Absinthe House and the tragedy of Katrina hitting NOLa as it did, Bryan formed a new band and hit the road. Picking up Brent Johnson on guitar and John Perkins on drums, Bryan Lee and The Blues Power Band started touring all over the world.
One of many highlights of Bryan Lee’s career would be performing at BB King’s 80th Birthday in 2005, as well as being a special guest on the KWS “Blues from the Backroads, 10 Days Out” (2007). During this 6 week tour Bryan was able to connect with the late great musicians such as Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Summlin, Eddie Kirkland and Willie Big Eye Smith along with Buddy Flett, among many others. Bryan Lee performed hit original hit tune” Tina Marie” with KWS and friends on the Jay Leno Show in 2007 as well as on the Tavis Smiley Show.
In 2010; Bryan was nominated for a Grammy Award (“Live! In Chicago” with KWS and Friends) and won a BMA for Best Rock Blues Album (“Live! In Chicago” with KWS and Friends). In 2012 Bryan played his 26th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and along The Blues Power Band to a packed tent.
A new protégé – Matthew Curry. If Curry’s experiences as a young bluesman sound similar to those of a young Kenny Wayne Shepherd it’s because the duo’s formative years are very much alike. They even share a common mentor – New Orleans’ bluesman Bryan Lee. “Vocally, my main number one influence is Bryan Lee. He’s just the nicest man I’ve ever met on earth,” Curry said. “He’s toured all over the world and he knows that he and his band are great, but yet he’s so humble about it. Me and him and his guitar player Brent all stay in touch. As far as the blues, I think Bryan Lee is the best blues singer that I’ve ever heard.”
Bryan Lee is anxiously awaiting the release of his new CD with Severn Records: David Earl as producer,featuring Kim Wilson on harp and the Severn Records house band in spring of 2013.
“The Good Lord gave me this gift and I want to share it with you”. Bryan Lee