Bluesman Kenny Neal Opens the Center for the Arts Winter Season

Come and experience the acclaimed guitarist that is renowned as a modern swamp-blues master. The Center for the Arts in Homer presents Kenny Neal on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.. The award winning and widely praised bluesman will be presenting his trademark brand of blues, featuring a combination of funky rhythms and soul-deep vocals, powered by his slashing guitar playing and loping harmonica parts. He is continuing his recent hot streak with his latest album, Hooked On Your Love, the follow up to his multi-award winning 2008 comeback album, Let Life Flow. An outstanding success, that album raked in the accolades: three prestigious Album of the Year awards, two Song of the Year awards for the title track, and Kenny himself garnered two Artist of the Year honors.

Born October 14, 1957 into a deeply rooted multi-generational blues family from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Kenny's been playing the blues since he was a small child. He first learned the blues from his father, harpist Raful Neal, and family friends like Buddy Guy, Lazy Lester and Slim Harpo. It was Slim who gave Kenny his first harp, trying to pacify the crying three-year-old boy. It worked. Kenny mastered harmonica, and quickly moved on to bass, trumpet, piano and guitar. He first performed at age six, playing piano at one of his father's gigs. By the time he was 13, he officially joined his father's band as a bass player, before being recruited as Buddy Guy's bassist at 17. Following Buddy's advice to concentrate on his guitar playing, Kenny relocated to Toronto, and--along with his brothers Raful Jr., Noel, Larry and Ronnie--formed the Neal Brothers Band, regularly backing visiting blues stars. Later he fronted Canada's Downchild Blues band before returning to Baton Rouge to begin his solo career.

Teaming with producer/bassist/horn arranger Bob Greenlee in 1987, Kenny cut a series of albums featuring not only his laid-back, Baton Rouge blues, but also funky contemporary gems with a taste of rock and R& B. Kenny joined Alligator in 1988, and his albums became blues hits, with the critics hailing him as one of the best of the younger blues generation. Down Beat declared, "Neal has a contemporary style unto himself, his phrases flare with pointed feeling and fervid imagination, his singing is randy and exuberant."

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