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Bernard Allison – Highs & Lows

by Debra C. Argen
Bernard Allison - Hights & Lows
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Blues guitarist, singer, songwriter Bernard Allison continues to prove his mettle with his latest album, Highs & Lows, released on the Ruf Records label, which hit the streets on February 25, 2022, and debuted in the number one spot on Billboard on March 12, 2022. This 11-track release is 45 minutes of pure Blues magic.


Bernard Allison – Highs & Lows

Bernard Allison – Highs & Lows: So Excited, Highs & Lows, Strain On My Heart, My Way Or The Highway, Side Step, Hustler, Now You Got It, I Gave It All, My Kinda Girl, Satisfy Her Needs, Last Night

Bernard Allison – Highs & Lows Personnel: Bernard Allison: vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, organ guitar on tracks 4, 6, and 10; George Move: bass guitar; Dylan Salfer: rhythm guitar, Steve Potts: drums; Jose Ned James: saxophone on tracks 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, tambourine on track 11; Toby Lee Marshall: Hammond B3 on tracks 3, 8, 9, 11, Wurlitzer Piano on track 3; Colin James: vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar on track 4; Bobby Rush: vocals, harmonica on track 6

Bernard Allison – Highs & Lows was produced by Jim Gaines on the Ruf Records label.

The youngest son of the legendary blues guitarist, Luther Allison (1939-1997), Bernard started playing guitar at 12. By the time he was 18, he was invited to play with his father’s band at the 1983 Chicago Blues Festival. He followed that honor up by touring with Koko Taylor’s band. Since then, he has honed his craft and his talent, and continues to deliver the musical goods with each new release and every time he performs.

He has led somewhat of a charmed life; and notes "… jamming with Stevie Ray Vaughan on his 16th birthday" when Stevie "contacted my mom and said he and Double Trouble were going to surprise me after their show…" and being taught by Johnny Winter to play slide by open tuning.

Bernard shows off his writing prowess and wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the release excepting two songs written by his father, Luther. The 11-track release opens with the hard-driving song So Excited. Penned by Bernard Allison, he notes that the song "… is basically about the excitement of being able to be back on the road again…I think everyone can relate to that." This up-tempo song has a long instrumental intro that sets the pace for the compelling lyrics, "… I’ve been down so long … I’m on my way back up again" and will resonate with many.

The band segues into the title track, Highs & Lows, written by Bernard Allison and Andrew Thomas. The song is about life’s ups and downs, with lyrics "I’ve seen the high of the highs, and the lows of the lows…" like losing his father to cancer in 1997.

Next up is Strain On My Heart, a Bernard Allison and Olivia Jacobson tune that has gorgeous instrumentals with Jose Ned James on saxophone and Toby Lee Marshall playing Wurlitzer piano. My Way Or The Highway, another Bernard Allison and Andrew Thomas song, picks up the pace with this funky Jump Blues number featuring Colin James on lead guitar, and Bernard layering in his organ guitar.

Hitting the half-way mark in the release, the band slows the pace and slides into the song, Side Step, collaboratively written by Jim Gaines, Mark Narmore, Sandy Carroll, and Bernard Allison. Next up is the track, Hustler written by Bernard Allison, Emmett Ellis Jr., and Andrew Thomas. The drum intro sets the pace for the groove with catchy lyrics, "…I’m a natural born hustler, I tell you it’s all in my blood…" Bernard’s godfather, Bobby Rush, plays harmonica on this stellar track.

Bernard plays tribute to his father on the next two songs, Now You Got It, and I Gave It All, written by Luther Allison. Now You Got It is another fine showcase for guitars, vocals, and Jose Ned James on saxophone. I Gave It All slows the pace on this sultry number.

My Kinda Girl penned by Bernard Allison and George Luchain Moye Sr. has Toby Lee Marshall on a Hammond B3 and Jose Ned James on saxophone, which gives this song its kick. Satisfy Her Needs written by Bernard Allison has him playing organ guitar on this fabulous song. The release closes with Last Night, written by Bernard Allison and Larry Doc Watkins with Toby Lee Marshall on Hammond B3 and Jose Ned James layering in saxophone and tambourine. From start to finish, Bernard Allison’s Highs & Lows takes you on up high and brings you gently back to earth, ready to give this stellar release another listen.

Until next time, keep enjoying the music!

For information on Bernard Allision and upcoming shows, please visit the website: www.BernardAllison.com

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