LOCAL ARTISTS

In Partnership with the

Aaron Neville

The third youngest of the famous four Neville brothers—Art and Charles are older, Cyril’s younger—Aaron was born into one of New Orleans’ most celebrated families. His first influence was Art. “I never heard a better singer or funkier keyboardist than my big brother,” says Aaron.

“Brother Charles,” he continues, “was the family jazzman. He blew sax and schooled me in the ways of improvisation. Brother Cyril was our James Brown. He was—and still is—a great singer. He burns with soul.”

Aaron was the first Neville to burn his way up the national charts. In 1966, his “Tell It Like It Is” hit number-one. Unfortunately, the label, Par-Lo, went broke before Aaron got paid. On the strength of the smash, though, Neville toured nationally and established his status and a singular style marked by a rare and haunting beauty.

“That style,” he says, “is rooted in the doo wop of the fifties— the Moonlgows, the Flamingos, the Clovers and a close friend, Pookie Hudson and the Spaniels. But I was also deep into the gospel groups, the Pilgrim Travelers, the Brooklyn All-Stars and The Blind Boys of Alabama. And then there were those yodeling cowboys. I loved them.”

The seventies were rough, but Aaron successfully fought off a slew of demons and, together with his brothers and their beloved Uncle Jolly, created The Wild Tchoupitoulas, a dazzling suite of Mardi Gras Indian songs that holds a high place in American music.

The brothers pursued other projects on their own, most notably Art and Cyril’s work with the Meters. Later the Neville Brothers, with Aaron as one of the lead vocalists, were signed to Capitol, and then to A&M where, in the eighties, they recorded a series of memorable albums, including Yellow Moon. (Aaron wrote the title track, a major hit.) Aaron’s solo career was re-launched in the nineties when Linda Rondstadt and George Massenburg produced his Warm My Heart, a major bestseller. The nineties was also the decade when the industry began awarding Aaron with its most prestigious prize: He won two Grammies in duets with Linda Ronstadt, “Don’t Know Much” and “All My Life,” both ten-top hits.

In the coming years, Aaron would be nominated for 16 Grammies in categories as diverse as country and western, pop, r&b and gospel. In 1994, he and Trisha Yearwood won Best Country and Western vocal collaboration for “I Fall to Pieces.” In this same period, he won Best Male Singer two years running in the Rolling Stone critics’ poll.

“When I was in the booth singing these songs, songs so connected to my life before Katrina, I couldn’t help but think how this storm changed everything. I was thinking about all those people in the water. Thinking of friends I might never see again. Thinking of how I had lost my home, how three of my sons, my brother Cyril and sister Athelgra all had lost their homes. So much loss was on my mind.”

“The idea behind the record was simplicity itself,” says producer Stewart Levine, whose work, among many others, with Simply Red, the Crusaders and B.B. King has earned him an international reputation for creative excellence.

“We took these iconic songs and stripped them to their essence. We didn’t want Aaron to cover them; we wanted him to redefine them. He did just that. He turned them into personal testimonies. The truth is that, as a vocalist, he’s on a par with the artists who made these tunes legendary—Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Al Green, Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield. It’s foolish to compare masters—they each possess unique genius—but Aaron’s genius, evident in this record, is still expanding, still deepening.”

“Aaron also related to the musicians on this record,” says Levine, “the rhythm section of drummer James Gadson, guitarists Ray Parker, Jr. and Heitor Pereira, bassist Freddie Washington, keyboardists Neil Larsen and the great Joe Sample. It’s an amazing group whose experience and rapport with this music matches Aaron’s.”

“This is a strange moment in my career,” muses Aaron. “Since Katrina I’ve devoted months and months to benefit concerts—and that’s been a blessing. My profile and the profiles of my brothers have been raised by the storm. People all over the world see us as the face of New Orleans. They want to hear us play. They want to feel that we’ve survived the storm. They want to be assured that life goes on. (Neville Brothers Website Bio)

Upcoming Events
Related Creatives
The merging of modern funk and Mardi Gras Indian music has come around with the advent of a group called 101 Runners. 101 Runners are establishing “Indian Funk” as a rising force on the New Orleans music map, and the… Read More
Anders Osborne was born in Uddevalla, Sweden, and raised on Gotland Island in the Baltic Sea, Anders Osborne began his musical education by listening to his father, a professional pop and jazz drummer who toured the same German club circuit… Read More
Andrew Block is a New Orleans based funk, soul and rhythm & blues guitarist, currently touring with producer/dj Gramatik. He has shared the stage and studio with legendary artists such as Pretty Lights, Dr. John, George Porter Jr., Ivan Neville,… Read More

Our Local Publisher Partners

The Arts Council of New Orleans

The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.

WWNO

WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at WWNO.org.

WWOZ

WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.

PRC

Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.

NOMA

As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

Southern Food

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.

X

Thanks.

was added to your favorites.

VIEW YOUR PROFILE

 


Share On Twitter Share On Facebook