The San Luis Obispo Blues Society presents the Kenny Neal Band on Saturday, September 23 at 8:00 pm at the SLO Vets Hall (801 Grand Avenue). The Cinders will be opening the show.
Swamp blues artist Kenny Neal is a singer-songwriter best known for his mastery of guitar and harmonica. He is one of those natural musicians who can pick up pretty much any instrument and make it sound good. He tours and records with a band composed mostly of family members, and the deeply rooted relationships are evident in every note. Neal’s music celebrates both the joys and acknowledges the losses of life. It’s a very personal sound that everyone can identify with; musically, a laid-back Cajun rhythm, augmented by funk, zydeco bounce, and soul, Acadiana style.
Kenny Neal was raised in Baton Rouge and began playing music at a young age, learning the basics from his father, singer and blues harmonica player Raful Neal. Family friends like Lazy Lester, Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo also contributed to Kenny’s early musical education. At age 13, he joined his father’s band and began paying his musical dues. Four years later, he was recruited and toured extensively as Buddy Guy’s bass player.
Since 1987, Kenny has released a series of consistently lauded albums featuring his laid-back, Baton Rouge blues, with a modern spin on the Louisiana sound he grew up with. His 2004 release with Billy Branch, Double Take (Alligator Records), garnered a W.C. Handy award for Best Album. In 2008, Kenny released Let Life Flow (Blind Pig). The title track, a soulful ballad about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, won a Blues Music Award for “song of the year”. Hooked on Your Love (Blind Pig, 2010) contains a musical gumbo of swamp-boogie, R&B, and straight-ahead blues. His recent release Bloodline (Cleopatra Records) has received a Grammy nomination for best contemporary blues album.
Kenny has relocated back to Baton Rouge to be with his family, but realizes that life on the road is his life. His band includes brothers Fredrick Neal on keyboards and Darnell Neal on bass, and Bryan Morris on drums and Alphonso Guillary on horns. Check out their website (http://www.kennyneal.net).
The Cinders is an electric blues band featuring Dorian Michael on guitar and Brett Hoover on vocals. The music has Chicago 1960 as its starting place but doesn’t make any attempt to sound like it. The music gets played in an organic contemporary fashion that acknowledges the fact that middle aged guys in the 21st century are influenced by a lot of phases of 20th century blues and rock ‘n’ roll. And it all gets blended together and played with a great amount of spontaneity. It is a real blues band, no lack of intensity here.