Art Neville was the keyboardist and a singer for the Meters, one of the most influential bands in American-music history—and quite possibly the greatest funk band of all time. Later on, his youngest brother, Cyril, joined the group as a percussionist and vocalist. Something must’ve clicked because when the Meters broke up in the late ’70s, Art and Cyril, along with their other brothers, Charles (sax) and Aaron (singer), formed the Neville Brothers. With their delicate harmonies and predilection for funk, they became one of the top purveyors of the NOLA sound.
Mac Rebennack was born in New Orleans in 1940. His musical career, as a guitarist, took off in the late ’50s. But following an accident, he had to drop the guitar, so he focused on playing the bass and then, with Professor Longhair as an important influence, turned to the piano. Several years later, in the early ’60s, Mac Rebennack moved from LA to L.A. and somewhere along the way, with time and the help of his winning combination of blues, jazz, pop, boogie-woogie and Zydeco, the singer-songwriter was reborn as Dr. John. His live shows, known for R&B, psychedelic rock and a little a bit of voodoo hoodoo, earned him a cult following—and the attention of Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger. Ultimately, though, he’ll probably always be known for the albums Gris-Gris, Dr. John’s Gumbo, In the Right Place and Desitively Bonnaroo (a name music-festival fans might recognize).
And the best news of all is that both the Neville Brothers and Dr. John (above, playing “Iko Iko”) are playing The Wellmont Theatre tomorrow night, and The House List is giving away two tickets. Want to go? Then fill out the form below, listing your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Nevilles/Dr. John, 2/13) and a brief message telling us what you love about New Orleans music. The winner will be notified later today.
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