New Orleans, Louisiana is often called the birthplace of the blues. It’s a claim disputed by a few music historians. But if nothing else, the Big Easy deserves a kind word for giving birth to The Royal Southern Brotherhood.
The project began in 2011 as a germ in the mind of Reuben Williams, manager to well-travelled blues singer and guitar man Mike Zito and Cyril Neville of New Orleans’ legendary Neville Brothers. When the two men collaborated a few years earlier, the result was Pearl River, the memorable title track of Zito’s 2009 album. The song won a Blues Music Award for ‘song of the year.’ Could lightening strike a second time if the two men joined forces again?
From there Allman and others went from ‘talking about the idea’ to him and Cyril co-writing a song over shared emails. With those three involved, the idea then blossomed into a full-fledged band with the addition of bassist Charlie Wooton and drummer Yonrico Scott.
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Then came their coming out party. For a grouping this ambitious and loaded with universally admired talent, no ordinary debut would suffice. So their first public performance was made at New Orleans’ Rock ‘n’ Bowl in September of 2011.
[stextbox id=”custom” caption=” Recommended Album” float=”true” align=”left” width=”300″]Don’t Look Back is the latest release from the Royal Southern Brotherhood. What’s most amazing about this strong offering is its fresh sound. It would make perfect sense that a group of time-tested blues and rock veterans would be tempted to disregard the album’s titled advice, these fellows are determined to keep their eye – and ears – on the future. Don’t panic, the albums is very strongly rooted in blues history, but there’s much happening here than empty nostalgia. These southern masters of sound are most excited about the days ahead. And with the legacy they’re working hard to keep alive, they’re providing good reason for that excitement to be shared.
[/stextbox]2014 was a year of changes for the supergroup. Guitar man Mike Zito left the band in October and Bart Walker stepped into his role without missing a lick. Allman also left in the same year to be replaced by yet another gifted member of a family with strong blues credentials, Tyrone Vaughan – son of Jimmie, nephew of Stevie Ray. As expected, the band kept rolling along, and keeps rolling to this day. Their latest release is called Don’t Look Back, a curious title for a band with a strong connection to the music world’s celebrated past. Perhaps it is a hint to the bands approach to staying young. Keep looking ahead, they seem to be advising us, keep delighting fans, keep creating and recreating the music that made the past to relentlessly soulful. On further reflection, Don’t Look Back sounds more like a mission statement than an album title.