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A native of New Orleans and steeped in the musical traditions of that city, Mike Bernos has been living in Jacksonville since 1999. In New Orleans, his musical cohorts were such greats as Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton Marsalis, and the Jokers. In the evenings Bernos could be found listening to other New Orlean’s legends such as Dr. John, Fats Domino, Neville Brothers, Marcus Roberts, and Professor Longhair at notable venues such as Lu and Charlie’s, Snug Harbor, Tyler’s Beer Garden, The Maple Leaf bar, and Tipitina’s. He also played with the Vieux Carre Street Band, whose CD, has raised money and awareness for the restoration of Louisiana wetlands.
In Jacksonville, Bernos, who plays guitar, piano and sings, has recently been performing at The Grape, with cellist Linda Minke, offering a blend of covers and originals. He also plays at benefits throughout the area for the Harvest of Hope foundation, where he has played with JSO cellist, Betsy Federman.
On the CD, With These Hands, Bernos assembled a talented group of Jacksonville musicians that included Kenny (keyboards) and Teri (vocalist) Levine, Linda Minke, violinist Rebecca Zapen, and trumpeter, Chris Norton.
At the With These Hands, CD release party, scheduled for November 19 at the Thomas Cultural Center in Gainesville, Bernos has gathered some of Jacksonville’s most noted musicians to accompany him for his nine-song performance consisting of all original music that features reggae and acoustic rock. In addition to Kenny and Teri Levine of KTG Entertainment, he will have percussionist Sam Rodriguez of the Latin trio bearing his name, noted guitarist Mark Denison, bassist Lawrence Buckner, who plays with Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad fame, and Nathanael Edwards, a cellist who made her debut with JSO at age 16.
“I went for a long time without writing,” Bernos said, “But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening within, because the soul forgets nothing. Unless you”re dead, you going to have a story to tell eventually.”
Bernos said that the songs featured on With These hands, emerged from a life transition that he explored using the elegiac tones of a cello to accompany his tenor.
For more about The Mike Bernos Band, visit them online at www.themikebernosband.com.