Photo of Blues Bradford
Blues Bradford
At the age of nine Dave, or “Blues” as he would later be called, began his musical study with the violin. This was to be his main instrument for years until he switched to guitar because of its prominence in popular music.

Born in Mississippi, Blues grew up in central Mississippi, East Texas, and southern Louisiana at a time when it was still common to hear the “first” generation of bluesmen playing on street corners for tips. This got the sound of the blues in his ears from an early age. Also, electric blues artists such as Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf were popular on the radio at that time.

Later, in the years he spent in New Orleans, Blues was exposed to the variety of musical styles for which that city is famous. He had the opportunity to hear some of the fabulous jazz musicians who played at the clubs in the French Quarter, as well as hearing and playing with some of the many street musicians scattered throughout the city. It was in New Orleans that he first learned about the concept of musical improvisation.

His approach to the instrument took a serious turn when he enlisted in the navy in 1973. The U.S. Navy might not seem the ideal place for a musician to hone his chops, but it was during off-duty hours at sea that he began a serious study of the blues—beginning with the material of acoustic country blues artists such as Mississippi John Hurt, Big Bill Broonzy, Reverend Gary Davis, and others. He moved on to electric guitarists Freddie King, B.B. King, Albert Collins, Hubert Sumlin, and Eric Clapton.

Since Dave was always playing the blues on his guitar, his shipmates took to calling him “Blues” Bradford. The name stuck.

When Blues was transferred to shore duty in Bermuda, he joined a local band that played in various venues around the island and enjoyed some success. This experience inspired Blues to pursue a musical career.

After leaving the navy, Blues moved to Hollywood, California, to attend GIT, a well-known music school for guitarists. There he had the opportunity to learn from guitarists such as Robben Ford, Ron Eschete, Joe Diorio, Don Mock, Keith Wyatt, and Kimbo Smith (one of the best unsung blues guitarists ever). While at GIT he played in several bands in the Los Angeles area and did some studio work. Dave “Blues” Bradford graduated from GIT in March 1981.

Blues had planned to return to Louisiana or Texas after graduation, but one of the bands he had been playing with part time invited him to become a full member. As a result he remained in California, playing with a number of different bands over the years. He also continued to work in studios from time to time.

In 2005 “Blues” moved to the mountains of beautiful southern Colorado. He devotes his time to writing songs and playing electric blues guitar.