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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Sept. 24: Michael Johnson to perform

The Grammy-nominated songwriter will perform in Halling Recital Hall.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Dept. of Music News Release, 9-3-2013

Mankato, Minn. –Michael Johnson, the Grammy-nominated songwriter behind such musical chestnuts as “Bluer Than Blue” and “Give Me Wings.” will perform on Tuesday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Avenue.

Born in Colorado, Johnson picked up the guitar when he was 13, winning an international talent contest in the mid-1960s that led to Epic Records releasing his single, “Hills.” He began a tour of the college and coffeehouse circuit, finding receptive audiences hungry for music that touched on deeper subjects. A young man himself, he came of age during that turbulent decade, when folk music was as powerful a medium as anything else when it came to galvanizing, inspiring and moving the masses.

“The best advice I ever got, and probably the only advice I ever took, was when I talked with (blues legend) Josh White Sr. and he said, ‘Get good,’” Johnson said. “And he also said, ‘Don’t quit.’ As far as getting good, he meant that you knew what you needed to learn, so you had to go and learn it. And the don’t quit thing, well, that’s the one thing you can’t do, because if you quit, you lose all of your options.”

In 1966, he moved to Spain, studying at the Liceu Conservatory; after moving back to the United States, he was a member of several bands, including a trio that included folk legend John Denver. After the group splintered, he dabbled in an off-Broadway production before releasing his first album, “This Is a Breeze,” in 1973 on Atco Records. Several more albums followed before he broke through nationally with “Bluer Than Blue,” recorded as a demo and released on “The Michael Johnson Album” in 1978. It peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that summer, reaching No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Michael Johnson’s performance at Minnesota State Mankato is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Concert admission is $12; $11 for students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to For more information on the Alison Scott performance or The Art of Songwriting workshop, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

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