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New lineup's working for Royal Southern Brotherhood

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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Royal Southern Brotherhood has been through some substantial changes in just four years as a band.

During the past two years, in fact, the quintet lost its two high-profile guitarists, Devon Allman and Mike Zito, so the splits were amicable. And singer-keyboardist Cyril Neville -- part of New Orleans' famed Neville Brothers Band -- says he feels RSB is in even better shape with their replacements, the tandem of Bart Walker and Tyrone Vaughan, who's the son of Jimmie Vaughan and nephew of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.

"We wanted to just let people know that this is a band and we intend to keep this train rolling," Neville, 66, says by phone from his home in New Orleans. He's confident the group proved that with its third studio album, "Don't Look Back," which came out during the spring.

"Everything had question marks around it," Neville acknowledges. "After (Zito and Allman) it was not so much a question of 'Who?' but 'With who?' We knew we were going to keep moving forward. There never was a time that we thought it was going to completely go away; it was just a little anxiety of not really knowing who those people would be."

A mutual friend introduced Neville to Walker, and he's known Vaughan since he was very young. Working with producer Tom Hambridge at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., "Don't Look Back" fell together quickly and shows "the depth of musicianship" Neville feels distinguishes RSB's current lineup.

"It has a lot of different types of grooves and different types of pockets we established -- Not that we didn't have that before, but there was just a different style, a different feel in it," Neville explains. "This kind of took a sharp turn towards the kind of funk and more groove-oriented things.

"This record has that feel to it that you can tell it was a band record. You can tell from the fatness of the grooves and the deepness of the pocket this was a labor of love for everybody, with the determination this was going to be the best Royal Southern Brotherhood record so far. You can tell from the performance we were having big fun."

The same can be said for audiences, he adds. "This (lineup) kicks it pretty good live, still," Neville says, "and we're only getting better the more we play together. I don't think anybody who sees us is going to be disappointed."

Royal Southern Brotherhood

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Callahan's Music Hall, 2015 South Blvd., Auburn Hills.

Tickets are $30 and $25.

Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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