Starting on fiddle at age 12, Justin began his musical journey by learning Texas/contest style fiddling and competing in fiddle contests around the country. During this time he was heavily influenced by the fiddling of Benny Thomasson, Terry Morris, Orville Burns, Louis Franklin, and other greats of Texas style fiddling, as well as bluegrass legends like Kenny Baker and Benny Martin.
Through contests, Justin was also exposed to western swing and jazz violin which were so inspiring that he shifted his focus to those styles. During his teenage and college years, Justin studied and absorbed the styles of players like Johnny Gimble, Buddy Spicher, Randy Elmore, Dale Potter, Tommy Jackson, and Svend Asmussen.
These studies led to him changing from a straight up contest fiddler to an improvising player on not just fiddle but also viola, mandolin, and guitar. While known for being a lover of swing music, Justin is also quite fond of and at home playing bluegrass, country, and old-time.
Justin has a Master of Music degree in jazz performance from Webster University in St. Louis, MO where he is also on faculty as the adjunct professor of jazz violin. In addition to Webster University, Justin is the first ever fiddle and mandolin teacher for Washington University in St. Louis and he operated a private teaching studio in the city.
Justin is currently a member of Swing DeVille, Colonel Ford, The Palominos, and has recorded/played for Son Volt and Pokey LaFarge. Contest titles Justin has won include the 2010 Grand Master Fiddler Championship, 2010 Tennessee State Fiddle Championship, 2010 Gone to Texas Fiddle Championship, and the 2008 National Young Adult Fiddle Championship.
Lessons By Justin
Lessons Taught by Justin Branum
- Lick of the Week – Lesson 6 – Johnny Gimble Lick
- Lick of the Week – Lesson 5 – Jazz Lick No. 2
- Lick of the Week – Lesson 4 – Double Stop Lick
- Lick of the Week – Lesson 3 – Bluegrass Lick #2
- Lick of the Week – Lesson 2 – Jazz Lick
- Lick of the Week – Lesson 1 – Bluegrass Lick
- Swing Fiddling 101 with Justin Branum