Musician Spotlight

Musician Spotlight

Kenny Neal

Kenny Neal was born in New Orleans in 1957 and raised in Baton Rouge. He began playing music at a very young age, learning the basics from his father, singer and blues harmonica master, Raful Neal. Kenny is known as a modern blues musician and multi-instrumentalist who draws from the sizzling sounds of his native Louisiana. At age 13, Neal was playing in his father’s band, and at 17, he landed a job playing bass for Buddy Guy. During his successful career, Neal has recorded over a dozen albums, earning a GRAMMY nomination and numerous Blues Music Awards. In 2011, he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

In 2015, Neal released his first holiday- themed album, I’ll Be Home for Christmas. It was also his first album for Cleopatra Records which issued his GRAMMY-nominated release Bloodline in 2016. Not to be confused with the wistful 1943 Bing Crosby classic of the same name, Neal’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a steady driving blues that features his soulful harmonica playing

Enjoy Kenny Neal on our new release, Blues Christmas!

Charles Brown

Texas-born blues singer and pianist Charles Brown had a long romance with Christmas songs, and some of his most successful recordings had holiday themes. After moving to Los Angeles as a young man, Brown gained a reputation for his smooth, appealing approach to the blues, and like Ray Charles, Percy Mayfield and other contemporaries, he took a little bit of the edge off traditional blues and was able to reach more mainstream audiences. He passed away in 1999, just a month after Christmas.

It was as a member of Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers that Brown first tasted Christmas success, playing on a 1947 recording of “Merry Christmas Baby” that reached #3 on Billboard’s R&B chart. His first solo holiday hit was “Please Come Home for Christmas” in 1960, which had sold over a million copies by the end of the decade. In 1961, Brown recorded his first entire album of seasonal songs. In the late 1980s, Bonnie Raitt helped create a Charles Brown comeback tour and, in 1992, they recorded a reprise of “Merry Christmas Baby. The Christmas spirit struck again in 1994 when Brown released the album Cool Christmas Blues, which included this song.

Enjoy Charles Brown on our new release, Blues Christmas!

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