​Teaching the blues to America's youth

CHICAGO -- At a club on Chicago's North Side called the Kingston Mines, everybody has the blues. This is where 3-time Grammy nominee Billy Branch carries the crowd away on his harmonica.

"We wouldn't have country, rock 'n roll, disco, jazz, hip hop, without the blues, and yet the blues is usually relegated to the bottom rung of the ladder," said Branch.

Branch is taking the blues to places where few have ever heard of B.B. King or Bessie Smith -- places like Waupon, Wisconsin. We tagged along with Branch on day five of what he calls his "Blues in School Residency."

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Billy Branch plays the harmonica in front of students in Waupon, Wisconsin CBS News

It's a project he started 37 years ago. It's his way of teaching the blues and the history that goes with the music to students like 15-year-old Josmar Jamenze.

"It's kind of odd to hear the blues up here," said Josmar. "Up here, blues is not the most common music to listen to these days, or even adults."

Once the students hear it, Branch says, they get the blues too. It's the kind of thing that spurs Branch to create a new appreciation for America's unique music.

  • Dean Reynolds
    Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.