"Neal’s deft electric and lap-steel solo guitar work would be enough to set him apart as a blues player. Adding Neal’s equally strong songwriting skills, his big, rich, hearty vocals and his classic harmonica riffs to his guitar playing puts Neal into a select class of ‘quadruple threat’ bluesmen. His musicianship has a genuine quality the likes of which no marketing wizard can contrive." —Blues Access
Kenny Neal has always been one of the foremost multi-talented musicians on the blues scene. A singer and songwriter with a deep, soulful delivery, his fingers are the only tools he needs to play his Telecaster or lap steel or harmonica. His third Telarc recording, What You Got, set for release on April 25, is a mix of his own tunes and blues standards, with horns on three tracks (“Little Brother,” “I’m the Man Your Mama Told You About,” and the title track).
Produced by Randy Labbe, What You Got pushes the boundaries with Neal’s own swamp-shuffle originals “I Smell Smoke,” “Blues Ain’t Nothing But a Good Man Feeling Bad,” “Déjà Vu,” and “Neal and Pray.” The supporting band features the terrific piano and organ work of Anthony Geraci, while Marshall DeMott provides tasty saxophone fills. Veteran Kennard Johnson on drums and Kenny’s sibling Noel on bass head up the rhythm section.
The son of Baton Rouge blues harpist and singer Raful Neal, Kenny literally grew up with the blues. One of eleven children in a very musical household, he was only three years old when Slim Harpo gave him his first harmonica as a pacifier. He learned his licks playing bass in his father’s band as a teenager and at 17 went on the road to play with Buddy Guy. In the mid-‘80s, he moved to Toronto and formed the Neal Brothers Blues Band, before eventually setting off on his own.
Kenny Neal’s 1998 Telarc debut, Blues Fallin’ Down Like Rain (enhanced CD-83435), was a mix of classic standards and original material that garnered rave reviews from blues writers. His latest release comes on the heels of 1999’s exceptional Homesick for the Road (with Tab Benoit and Debbie Davies, CD-83454). Kenny also played on The Songs of Willie Dixon (CD-83452) and A Tribute to Howlin’ Wolf (enhanced CD-83427).