WHAT: The Royal Southern Brotherhood
WHEN: Friday, February 8, 2012; 8pm (doors open at 6:30)
WHERE: Crystola Roadhouse, 20918 HWY 24, Woodland Park, CO
TICKETS: $25. to $50.
Colorado Springs, CO, December, 2012
Before they even hit a chord, Royal Southern Brotherhood has your attention. With a lineup comprising both the iconic Cyril Neville and Devon Allman, Royal Southern Brotherhood come pre-loaded with expectations. Don’t worry: they can match them.
Right now, the buzz is all about Royal Southern Brotherhood’s debut album, bottled with producer Jim Gaines in Louisiana. But let’s rewind to the summer of 2010 and the stifling heat of New Orleans and the pivotal meeting between Cyril, Devon and Mike Zito. Talk turned to forming a new breed of blues-rock band, and when jams began at a secluded studio in the city’s Garden District, the fizzing chemistry was too strong to deny. This lineup has talent to burn.
You’ll already know Cyril Neville: poet, philosopher, percussion master and perhaps the South’s last great soul singer. At 63, this is the latest chapter in a career that began with 1970’s debut solo single, Gossip, and his touchdown in the lineup of older brother Art’s funk outfit, The Meters, who had already hit big with 1969’s immortal Cissy Strut . Cyril lent percussion and vocals to classic albums including 1972’s Cabbage Alley and 1975’s Fire On The Bayou , and when über- fan Mick Jagger invited The Meters to open the Rolling Stones’ stadium tour of 1975, he suggested Cyril took vocals (they agreed). Post-Meters, he’s been key to the rise of The Neville Brothers, created alchemy with Bob Dylan, Bono and Willie Nelson, toured with funk act Galactic, led his solo band Tribe.
Devon Allman (son of Gregg Allman), has rock ‘n’ roll in his DNA, but he’s always walked his own path. Growing up apart from his father in St Louis, MO, and refusing to trade on his celebrity surname, Devon’s formative influences took in everyone from The Beatles to KISS, while his early bands ran the musical gamut rather than echo the Allmans. In 1999, he hit the radar as leader of Honeytribe, whose fearless albums announced him as a next-generation guitar hero, but by his thirties, the pull of his Southern heritage couldn’t be denied, and he willingly fell into the soul-drenched blues-rock style that recalls his key influences, In the last seven years, Devon has plotted an old-school ascent, crossing 14 countries on tour, blowing the roof off a new venue each night, and watching as fans and heroes alike fall under his spell. There’s been a Top 10 hit in Spain with Javier Vargas, albums alongside Jack Bruce, jam sessions with heavyweights like Les Paul and Billy Gibbons, even the launch of his own signature amp with Fuchs Audio T.
Step up Mike Zito: the blues ace whose ear for melody provides the counterpoint to his wingman’s rocking tendencies. Nominated in 2011 for the Blues Music Foundation’s ‘Best Blues Rock’ award, and winner of 2010’s Blues Music Award for ‘Song Of The Year’ with the title track of Pearl River (a co-write with Cyril Neville), few stars are rising faster. As former St Louis circuit-mates and friendly rivals, Devon and Mike have history, and while the guitarist has known trials in his life – just listen to 2011’s award-nominated Greyhound album for an account of the addictions that left him homeless in Florida – Royal Southern Brotherhood finds him long-term sober and with soul flowing through his fingers.
But like Cyril says, it’s all about making “a good gumbo”, and that’s where God’s own rhythm section comes in. Giving Royal Southern Brotherhood its hip-shaking groove are bassist Charlie Wooton and drummer Yonrico Scott: both heavyweight names in their own right, with Charlie’s bass chops celebrated on the Southern jam scene for his sets with the Woods Brothers, and Yonrico hitting the skins for luminaries including the Derek Trucks Band, Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers themselves. When these five stellar musicians come together as Royal Southern Brotherhood, the planets align. They said that rock ‘n’ roll was dead, but they were wrong. Right now, in 2012, there’s something in the air, as Royal Southern Brotherhood drag their thrilling new brand of blues-rock and white-hot musicianship from the Southern States onto the world stage. The South is rising again. Come along for the ride.
“We have brought Mike Zito to the area a couple of times and have been anxious to have him back, but this is more than we could even hope for” explains Amy Whitesell of A Music Company Inc., promoter of the show. “On one memorable occasion when both Tab Benoit and the Neville Brothers were performing at the Pikes Peak Center, both Cyril Neville and Tab Benoit stopped in after the show for a jam session with Mike Zito at McCabes tavern where we had booked Mike. It was easily one of the most exciting “happenings” in the Colorado Springs music scene. This concert with Royal Southern Brotherhood will easily rival that remarkable night. To use the phrase “not to be missed” is an understatement!