Kenny Neal
from Baton Rouge, Louisiana

From the swamps of Baton Rouge, Louisiana - A Legend in the making!

Kenny Neal is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and is widely renowned as a modern swamp-blues master. His new release, Hooked On Your Love, follows the triumph of his multi-award winning 2008 comeback album, Let Life Flow. An outstanding success, the CD raked in the accolades: three prestigious Album Of The Year awards, two Song of The Year awards for the title track, and Kenny himself garnered two Artist of the Year honors.

It was clear that Kenny touched something deep in the blues community with his soulful guitar playing and uplifting songwriting, and his hot streak continues with a batch of new songs.
Hooked On Your Love covers the plethora of accomplished roots styles Kenny has become known for. The tasty musical gumbo of swamp-boogie, jazz, R&B, and straight-ahead blues all swirl together on this new CD.

Kenny Neal was born in 1957 in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge. He began playing music at a very young age, learning the basics from his father, singer and blues harmonica player, Raful Neal. Family friends like Lazy Lester, Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo also contributed to Kenny’s early musical education. In fact, it was Harpo who gave the crying three-year-old a harmonica to pacify him. Kenny stopped crying that day, and eventually learned to play the harmonica. Along the way, he also mastered the bass, trumpet, piano and guitar. At 13, he joined his father’s band and began paying his musical dues. Four years later, he was recruited and toured extensively as Buddy Guy’s bass player. 

Following Buddy's advice to concentrate on his guitar playing, Kenny relocated to Toronto, and along with his brothers Raful, Jr., Noel, Larry and Ronnie - formed the Neal Brothers Band, honing his chops backing up visiting blues stars. Through the years, he has shared the stage or worked with a who’s-who list of blues and R&B greats at one time or another, including B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Muddy Waters, Aaron Neville, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker. Later, he fronted Canada's Downchild Blues Band, before returning to Baton Rouge to begin his solo career.

Signing with Alligator Records in 1988, Kenny began releasing a series of consistently lauded albums featuring his laid-back, Baton Rouge blues, with a modern spin on the Louisiana sound he grew up with. Throughout this period, Kenny distinguished himself as one of the brightest prospects of the contemporary blues scene, receiving great critical acclaim in the process. The Chicago Tribune pegged Kenny as “one of a mere handful of truly inventive young contemporary guitarists, Neal has something fresh to say and the chops with which to say it,” while AllMusic said his “gruff-before-their-time vocals retain their swamp sensibility, while assuming a bright contemporary feel that tabs him as a leading contender for future blues stardom.Blues Revue agreed, calling Kenny "one of the brightest young stars on the blues horizon, and a gifted artist."

In 1991, Kenny branched out into the world of acting when he starred as the lead in the much-acclaimed musical, Mule Bone, a lost play written by the famed African-American poet Langston Hughes and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston in 1930. Featuring music written by Taj Mahal, Kenny’s performances garnered a prestigious Theater World Award for “The Most Outstanding New Talent On and Off Broadway,” and he concurrently set two Hughes poems to music on the album
Walking With Fire.

After his impressive run with Alligator, Kenny switched to Telarc, and continued to release albums highlighting his developing skills as a songwriter, as well as interpreting songs from musicians as diverse as Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, and Nick Lowe. His 2004 release with Billy Branch,
Double Take, garnered Kenny a W.C. Handy award for Best Album. More recently, Kenny released A Tribute to Slim Harpo and Raful Neal, which pays homage to blues harp icon Harpo as well as Kenny’s father, who passed away as the album was being completed. 

After relocating to the Bay Area in 2004, Kenny began hosting his own local cable TV program, “Neal’s Place.” The show features Kenny jamming and talking with the many international blues stars he has met and performed with, as well as local artists he has spotted at festivals and clubs. Filmed in front of a live studio audience, “Neal’s Place” has a relaxed, informal atmosphere that brings out the best in the artists, while giving an unscripted, improvisational edge to the performances. 

In 2005, health problems forced Kenny to completely stop performing and recording for a few years. And, within an eleven month span during this recovery period, Neal lost his dad, sister, and brother. In the best blues tradition, Neal took the tragedies, adversity and heartbreak of those years and turned them into great songs and performances. 

Writing, playing, and singing with a renewed sense of purpose and energy, he used the time to craft an inspired collection of songs that make up
Let Life Flow. Released in 2008, the CD met with immediate critical success. Vintage Guitar said, “Kenny Neal’s new release is full of blues and soul music of the highest standard. While Neal’s always been one of his generation’s finest bluesmen, Let Life Flow helps push him into the upper echelon of the genre. His maturity, mastery of the music, and sheer determination show it, making this one of 2008’s best.” 

Living Blues magazine added, “His latest effort is a resounding affirmation of his talents as a musician, songwriter, and singer,” while offered that “Kenny Neal’s Let Life Flow album should be considered a masterpiece.” 
The critical acclaim and passel of awards that followed are testament to not only the album’s soulful grooves, but also to the deep, emotional resonance in Kenny’s perseverance in face of life’s trials. 

Kenny was able to return to the scene and the stage with a new vigor and outlook on life. With these, he entered the studio to whip up the good time gumbo of
Hooked On Your Love.

The new album casts that potent Neal spell of deep grooves and deep feelings that put him where he is today. With tunes like swampy Louisiana look-back “
Down In The Swamp,” the funky shuffle of Memphis in his take on “Blind Crippled Or Crazy,” or the soul searching blues of “Bitter With The Sweet,” Hooked On Your Love extends the spirit of his acclaimed Let Life Flow. 

Take a listen and prepare to be hooked.

official website:

Kenny Neal - guitar, harp, lead vocal
Bryan Morris - drums
Tyree Neal - keyboards
Frederick Neal - keyboards
Darnell Neal - bass




By Alligator Records

The rising son of Baton Rouge blues delivers a hell-raising dose of Deep South blues on both guitar and harmonica. "Rough and ready young blues barnstormer who solos up a storm"--BOSTON GLOBE


By Alligator Records

Son of Louisiana bluesman Raful Neal, Kenny's a triple threat on guitar, harmonica and vocals. "Undeniably contemporary, authentic young bluesman just bursting with ideas"--BLUES & RHYTHM


By Alligator Records

The young blues firebrand's most varied album. "One of the brightest young stars on the blues horizon...a gifted artist"--LIVING BLUES

As a tribute to Hughes, Kenny has set two Hughes poems to music for Walking On Fire. On these songs, Kenny played both harmonica and acoustic guitar. For the remainder of the album, Kenny was joined by some of the finest players in the blues and R&B realm. He's accompanied on most of the tunes by the famed rhythm team, Silent Partners. The horns are played by the legendary veterans of the James Brown Orchestra, the Horny Horns: Fred Wesley on trombone and Maceo Parkeron alto sax. Fred and Maceo are joined by members of the King Snake Horns and Kenny's touring horn player, Danny Fields. As on Kenny's previous albums, all the keyboards are played by Kenny's label mate, the amazing Lucky Peterson.

By Alligator Records


By Alligator Records

Deep South blues (with a touch of R&B). One of the top young bluesmen in the world. "Raucous, sweaty barrelhouse blues...explosive of the best of the new generation of blues"--CD REVIEW


By Alligator Records

Over 60 minutes from the young champion of Louisiana blues guitar and harmonica. Includes "Caught In The Jaws Of A Vice," "Outside Looking In," and "Hoodoo Moon;" remastered in 20-bit audio. With never-before-seen photos & special mini poster.


By Telarc

Kenny Neal is an evolving young blues artist at the top of his game. For his debut release on Telarc, Kenny goes back to the source and presents his interpretations of some classics in addition to soulful contemporary blues tunes.


By Telarc

"Neal's deft electric and lap-steel solo guitar work would be enough to set him apart as a blues player. Adding Neal's equally strong songwriting skills, his big, rich, hearty vocals and his classic harmonica riffs to his guitar playing puts Neal into a select class of "quadruple threat" bluesmen. His musicianship has a genuine quality the likes of which no marketing wizard can contrive." Blues Access

His third Telarc recording, What You Got, set for release on April 25, is a mix of his own tunes and blues standards, with horns on three tracks ("Little Brother," "I'm the Man Your Mama Told You About," and the title track). Produced by Randy Labbe, What You Got pushes the boundaries with Neal's own swamp-shuffle originals "I Smell Smoke," "Blues Ain't Nothing But a Good Man Feeling Bad," "Déjà Vu," and "Neal and Pray." The supporting band features the terrific piano and organ work of Anthony Geraci, while Marshall DeMott provides tasty saxophone fills. Veteran Kennard Johnson on drums and Kenny's sibling Noel on bass head up the rhythm section.


By Telarc

Tackling a wider range of material than ever before, Neal manages to put his signature on all twelve songs.

On One Step Closer, Kenny conjures up Louisiana's rich, musical traditions and steers them in imaginative, new directions.

Tackling a wider range of material than ever before, Neal manages to put his signature on all twelve songs. One Step Closer includes soulful renditions of Bob Dylan's "Walk out in the Rain," Nick Lowe's "High on a Hilltop," John Hiatt's "Lover's Will," and Colin Linden's "Hidden in Plain Sight" and "Remedy." Not only is the guitarist/singer/harmonica player one of the most consistent talents in contemporary blues, Neal is also a seasoned songwriter. His talents shine brightest on richly textured originals "Backdoor Tipper," "No More One More Chance," "Whiskey Tears" and "She Ain't Happy Unless She's Sad." Helping support the groove on One Step Closer are Denny Breau, rhythm guitar; Mary Jo Carlsen, violin; Andrea Re, backup vocals and percussion; Jason Ward, baritone saxophone; T-Bone Wolk, bass, mandolin and accordion; and Darren Thiboutot, drums.

Neal's fourth Telarc recording comes on the heels of 2000's What You Got (CD-83467) and 1999's exceptional Homesick for the Road (with Tab Benoit and Debbie Davies, CD-83454). His 1998 Telarc debut, Blues Fallin' Down Like Rain (enhanced CD-83435), was a mix of classic standards and original material. Although most blues insiders agree that Kenny Neal came into his own a long time ago, One Step Closer proves the man from Baton Rouge is just getting started.


by Billy Branch & Kenny Neal
Alligator Records

"...delivers a set of country blues that might just renew your faith in the eternal verities...stunningly gorgeous"

Prendi due bluesmen acclamati dalla critica, mettili insieme in uno studio di registrazione, premi "Record" e ascolta la magia che ne viene fuori, questo è "Double Take".

Registrato in Francia nel 1998 è un magnifico album acustico dove Neal e Branch pagando un tributo ai musicisti del passato, aprono la strada per il futuro senza compromessi del blues.



By True Life

On this album titled Kenny Neal: A Tribute to Slim Harpo, Neal takes his expertise in Swamp and Electric Blues and weaves a modern, yet boisterous musical yarn through the delicate fabric of Harpo original notes and creates a brand new wave pattern of the Blues genre in the process.

By Blind Pig Records

By Blind Pig Records

Download the biography!
Listen the Mp3!