11-year-old guitar prodigy embraced by big names in N.O. music scene



Posted on May 2, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Updated Monday, May 5 at 9:36 AM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS - When you hear Brandon Niederauer's impassioned solos and influences of rock, funk and blues, you might think he's far beyond his years.

But the young guitarist is only 11.  And he's only been playing for three years.

“It blows my mind that I've done all this,” said Brandon. “It's just magical, it just feels magical.”

Friday night, Brandon played for a cheering crowd of hundreds with the Midnite Disturbers at the 2nd annual Fiya Fest, a music festival benefiting The Roots of Music.

Since the Long Island native arrived in town Thursday, he has played with Billy Iuso at Jazz Fest and Trombone Shorty at Shorty Fest, among other appearances with some of the biggest names in the local music scene.  

“Probably the first time I played, I got nervous, but now it's just, it's just natural,” said Brandon

From Freddie King to the George Porter to the Revivalists, the list of musicians supporting him is a who's who of the local music world.

“It's a dream, very surreal. It's amazing to me that he's able to sit up there and hang with these guys,” said Brandon’s father, Gary Niederauer. “All the musicians in New Orleans are embracing him, I can't thank them enough.”

Brandon has also played with members of the Allman Brothers, and even been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“The kid is a child prodigy, he is a musical savant,” said Sidney Smith, a former photographer for the Allman Brothers who has helped introduce Brandon to many local musicians.

Brandon writes music too. He says, it all just comes naturally.

“I don't just love guitar, I love music,” said Brandon.

And while he plays for hundreds on stage this rising star is staying humble. He's still a kid, after all.

“I just feel lucky because some people don't get to do this.”

“This child is truly a gift, he's got a gift and he is a gift to all of us,” said Smith.

It’s a gift that he's sharing with New Orleans this weekend, and one he hopes to share for years to come.

If you would like to see Brandon play while he's in town you can catch him Saturday NIGHT AT at 7pm with Dragon Smoke at Manning’s annual crawfish boil.