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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Oct. 15: Blues Artist Bernard Allison

Performance will be at Hooligans.

2016-10-17
Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music News Release, 9-23-2016

Mankato, Minn. – C & C Records Recording Artist Bernard Allison (pictured) performs with his band on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. at Hooligans Neighborhood Pub, 1400 East Madison Avenue (Madison East Center), Mankato.

The concert event is co-sponsored by KMSU-The Maverick and the Minnesota State Mankato Performance Series, with assistance from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

"I'm not supposed to be like my dad," says Bernard Allison of the late blues guitar legend Luther Allison. "A large part of him is me. It just comes naturally, and it's a compliment when people compare my music to his. But I'm in that next generation of musicians."

Allison and several other members of the generation in question -- young American blues musicians like Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Susan Tedeschi -- are catalysts for a new revolution in blues. Drawing on a wider range of influences than their forebears, they tease the boundaries of blues fusion and incorporate rock, funk and electronic influences more than ever before. The results are sometimes spectacular, if occasionally irksome to purist blues fans.

Lines between genres of music continue to blur, though, and the smart kids are perfectly aware that those who mix it up will stay in the game while artists afraid to take risks are left behind.

"What we're all doing is not forgetting about the blues we grew up on," says Allison, "but taking it and renewing and expanding it so we can attract a younger audience beyond blues fans."

Though he firmly reminds the blues community that he has his own style, Allison is clearly carrying on his father's legacy -- and that of his father's peers as well. He picked up a guitar for the first time when he was 10, inspired by performances at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival, and Luther Allison's album Love Me Mama became his template. Young Bernard practiced playing along with it until his father, suitably impressed, decided to feature him on two tracks of his subsequent album, Gonna Be a Live One.

Ten years living and touring in Europe with his father followed, during which Luther gave him a life-changing Christmas present: funding to record his first solo album.

"Don't be afraid to go outside of blues," his father told him before he went into the studio. "Don't let them label you like they did me."

Bernard Allison is a dedicated touring musician, and his live shows are reputed to be incendiary and geared toward a wide array of listeners. "This is what I love to do, and whatever it takes to present my style of music, I'll do that," he says.

Concert admission is $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Tickets are available at Hooligans or online at www.mnsu.edu/music. For more information, call the Performance Series office, 507-389-5549. 

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State University system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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