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Beau Mansfield
Photo: Kianoosh Moeini

Beau Mansfield is a lot of things, but at his heart, he’s a piano man.

The Norman native has toured in comedy improv groups, directed music for theatrical productions and become a momentary viral star in Holland, but at the core of everything is Mansfield’s lifelong love affair with the ivory keys.

“There’s barely been a time since I was 4 that I haven’t played,” he said. “I was drawn to the piano in the house, and I remember sitting next to my mom almost every day until I was old enough to start to learn.”

And learn he did. Mansfield won numerous national piano awards through his youth, receiving lessons since age 5 and eventually training at the Peabody Conservatory at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University and playing gigs around New York City through his 20s.

His classical education was punctuated by an intense interest in music of all kinds. Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Randy Newman, Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen all made their way through Mansfield’s stereo speakers as a teen and guided his musical direction to its current state.

“They spent more money than they could afford on classical training, but they didn’t prevent me from playing whatever I wanted on the piano,” he said. “I’ve been curious about every style of music. That’s what sets me apart on a technical level, is the versatility ... if I may be so bold to say.”

That would certainly be the case on his 2011 album and tribute to his hometown, Norman. And it so follows on It’s Not All About Me, which will be unveiled at 10 p.m. Saturday at The Bluebonnet Bar.

Whereas
Norman was a passion project of mostly Mansfield’s doing, this album
finds him getting aid from band mates Jason Ethridge (bass) and Ken
Deadmon (drums), although that’s not the only reason why the record
isn’t all about Beau.

“The last album I made, it was almost all about me, in one form or another,” Mansfield said. “It’s Not All About Me … it’s literally that. Not all the songs are autobiographical.”

To
him, the record incorporates that lifelong love of piano with his
latest musical lesson in composing music that is a universal experience.

“I
was always pretty confident in my keyboard skills and composition, but
writing songs that people can relate to is harder,” Mansfield said. “I
hope people can at least get a drift of who I am and what I’m about and
maybe learn something about themselves in the process.”

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The Bluebonnet Bar feature   

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