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Kenny Neal Preserves The Blues Of Southern Louisiana

The Neal family are practically Louisiana Blues Royalty. Guitarist, bassist, harmonica player and singer Kenny Neal ranks high in the Blues hierarchy.

One of nine Blues musician children of Blues singer, songwriter and harmonica player Raful Neal, Kenny is an exponent of the Blues style typical to South Louisiana. He is possibly the best hope to preserve the Baton Rouge Blues sound, being as he is, fully aware of the region's rich Blues tradition. Yet he is also doing a very nice job expanding the Blues idiom.

Born in New Orleans in 1957, Kenny Neal got the harmonica bug when his father's friend Slim Harpo gave him a harmonica when he was 3-years-old. By age 13, Neal was playing in his father's band and at 17 became the bass player for Buddy Guy.

Neal added acting to his resume in 1991 when he appeared on Broadway in the Folk musical Mule Bone written by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. During the production he sang music written by Taj Mahal.

Kenny Neal's career was interrupted in 2006 due to contracting Hepatitis C. He made a triumphant return to performing at the Monterey Blues Festival in June 2007.

Along with Buddy Guy, Neal has played with B. B. King Lucky Peterson, Lazy Lester and may other greats. Given his talents on guitar and harmonica and his powerful and passionate vocals, we should be listing those others as honored to have played with Kenny Neal.

We are privileged to get to enjoy those extensive talents.

Don't just take my word for it. The Chicago Tribune has said of Kenny Neal, "One of a mere handful of truly inventive young contemporary guitarists," and "Neal has something fresh to say and the chops with which to say it."

Here, here.

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