The son of late blues guitar player Luther Allison, blues guitarist/singer Bernard Allison has played in bands with his father and was a member of Koko Taylor’s Blues Machine during the 80s. Allison made his first album as a leader while he and his father were based in Paris, and a number of European releases followed before the guitarist made his American debut in 1997 with Keepin’ The Blues Alive. Allison’s sound is rooted in the classic Chicago blues idiom he was born into, but he is also influenced by two comparatively younger players, Johnny Winter and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. Allison’s sound is contemporary, incorporating elements of funk and soul/R&B (he covered Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s ‘Real Mother ’Fa Ya’ on 1998’s Times Are Changing), and his solos are often spiky, angular and refreshingly unpredictable. In an interview in Blues Revue magazine (November 1997), Allison stated, ‘I’m not gonna play ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’. I’m gonna play young boy’s blues.’ And to a degree, thus far he has certainly succeeded.
2009 Blues Music award winner Mike Zito is one of those rare artist that can sing like nobody’s business, can write songs that instantly grip you, play one hell of a mean Gulf Coast style guitar and has the stage presence to draw in any audience. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO he grew up listening to Van Halen and Led Zepplin and it wasn’t until later he became interested in the great blues men who were from in and around St. Louis. On his 2011 Blue Music Award nominated CD (Best Blue Rock) Delta Groove release “Greyhound” he tells the rest of the story of how things could have been much different. He lived a rugged life much like many great musician endings while his beginning had not yet begun. Homeless, addiction, living the life of a criminal Zito had reached his rock bottom before cleaning up and ending up in Texas to live a sober life still today. It would be fair to say that is the time he draws from that creates all the emotion in his guitar style and singing. In 2009 Zito and Neville won the Blues Music award for “Song of the Year” for “Pearl River” the title track to Zito’s 2009 release. Zito comes armed with raw tone and pure grit that he can turn on a dime into silky smooth guitar melodies but it is the aged depth to his vocal that make Mike Zito stand out amongst the other cats claiming to have “the stuff”. Some lucky bastards are just born with it!!