Kenny Neal review…January 12, 2017…

KENNY NEAL

BLOODLINE

CLEOPATRA BLUES MUSIC

AIN’T GON’ LET THE BLUES DIE–BLOODLINE–PLAIN OLD COMMON SENSE–FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY–KEEP ON MOVING–I GO BY FEEL–I’M SO HAPPY–BLUES MOBILE–I CAN’T WAIT–REAL FRIEND–THANK YOU B. B. KING

For Kenny Neal, the roots of the blues run deep, indeed.  His legendary father was Louisiana blues legend Raful Neal, and Kenny proudly carries on the family tradition with perhaps the best album of his career, “Bloodline.”  Produced by Tom Hambridge, the eleven cuts herein detail Kenny’s strong ties to his family as well as his incredible love for the blues.

Kenny’s on guitar and harp throughout, and he features eight family members playing various instruments.  Kenny comes at you right out of the gate just like a fire-and-brimstone Baptist preacher on Sunday morning with “Ain’t Gon’ Let The Blues Die,” name-checking many of the greats who have passed on and vowing to carry this bidness on!  A midtempo groover that offers up some sage advice  and reminds us all to “think twice and speak once” and just use some “Plain Old Common Sense before you jump the fence!”  The poignant minor-key ode to a blind friend from Kenny’s youth who lived his life by this mantra–“I Go By Feel”–is heart-tugging for sure.  And, at the other end of the spectrum is Kenny’s vow to “live my life to the fullest,” “I’m So Happy!”  He’ll be cruisin’ and bluesin’ down life’s highway in a big  ol’ “Blues Mobile,” too,  headin’ up 61 from Louisiana to the Crossroads at 49, then on out west along Route 66!  This one is a righteous boogie, fueled by Kenny’s harp wailin’ away!

We had two favorites, too.  The swampy feel and laid-back groove of the title cut has Kenny recounting tales from his childhood, knowing full well that “the Bloodline runs thru me!”  Closing the set is an all-out, rompin’ and stompin’ tribute to the King of the Blues–“Thank You B. B. King, for paving the way for me!”

Kenny Neal is a member of the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame, and, on February 12, he may become Grammy winner, as “Bloodline” is one of the five nominees for Best Contemporary Blues Album.  Best of luck, Kenny, and thanks for a fantastic set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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