- Mr. Downchild
While most '50s parents frowned upon rock and roll, Steve Brazier's folks collected it -- and the blues as well. Small wonder, then, that once he discovered harmonica master Sonny Boy Williamson II, a teenaged Steve shifted interest from his established acting career and formed his first blues band. The London-born Brazier then took the title of Sonny Boy's "Mr. Downchild" for his stage name.
When he picked up slide guitar down the line, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters became new influences. Brazier's blues obsession grew over the next two decades, luring him closer to the source. In 1985, he arrived in the U.S. with the goal of getting an audience with Cleveland legend Robert Lockwood Jr. Brazier ended up settling down with the woman who arranged the meeting and has established himself as the North Coast's resident British bluesman.
Ever since picking up guitar, Brazier has both fronted bands and worked solo. These days, he's found pretty much on his own, playing his blues harp on a rack alongside guitar and foot percussion, as did his late fellow countryman Duster Bennett. Unlike countless folkies who have tried it, Downchild makes the harmonica-guitar combo an intricate affair. Well-versed in the styles of numerous blues masters, he can put a tune together himself, as evidenced on his blazing latest disc, Behind the Sun.