Russell Jackson Band w/ Kenny Neal

Category : Calgary Bluesfest
Aug 31, 2020

Russell Jackson

Born in Memphis and starting his career in 1974, Russell Jackson moved to Chicago in 1976 and gained his blues "stripes" working with Otis Clay, Buddy Guy, Bobby Rush and more. He's also played with greats Luther Tucker, Matt Murphy, Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson, Katie Webster, Charlie Musselwhite, and Willie Nelson. From 1979-1986 Russell toured exclusively with B.B. King. He was the first artist to put slap bass onto a live blues recording (Live At Ole Miss/1979).



In 1990 Russell relocated to Vancouver, BC (Canada), joining the Powder Blues Band, recording with Long John Baldry (It Still Ain't Easy). He recorded with Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne on his Juno award winning CD, and continues to record and perform with Kenny Wayne to date.



The birth of the Russell Jackson Band came in 1992 where he released three CDs of his own material. From 1994-97 he was a regular opening act for the Kansas City Blues Society at the infamous Grand Emporium for acts such as Son Seals, Five Blind Boys of Alabama, The Holmes Brothers, etc. Russell spent nearly a decade as Musical Director for the The New Generations of the Blues' European tours, formerly named The Chicago Blues Festival.



Spending his time between Houston, Texas, and Canada, Russell is renowned for his work on stand-up bass. Russell is currently recording and performing with BB King's Blues Band.

Kenny Neal

If you want to experience the "Real Deal", take time out to find Kenny Neal. One of the strongest modern proponents of Baton Rouge swamp blues, Kenny Neal is a second-generation southern Louisiana bluesman who is cognizant of the region's venerable blues tradition and imaginative enough to steer it in fresh directions. Neal was born on October 14, 1957 in New Orleans. His dad, harpist Raful Neal, was a Baton Rouge blues mainstay whose pals included Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo (the latter gave three-year-old Kenny his first harmonica).

At age 13, Neal was playing in his father's band, and at 17, landed a job playing bass for Buddy Guy. The guitarist recruited some of his talented siblings to form the Neal Brothers Blues Band up in Toronto (brother Noel later played bass behind James Cotton; five other Neal brothers also play in various bands) before returning stateside. In 1987, Kenny Neal cut his debut LP for Florida producer Bob Greenlee, an updated swamp feast initially released by Kingsnake Records as Bio on the Bayou. The following year, Alligator Records signed Neal and reissued the debut under the title Big News from Baton Rouge! Young Neal was on his way. Neal's sizzling guitar work, sturdy harp, and gravelly, aged-beyond-his-years vocals served him well, and he cut four albums for Alligator Records between 1989 and 1994. An acclaimed 1991 stint on Broadway in a production of Mule Bone found him performing acoustic versions of Langston Hughes' poetry set to music by Taj Mahal.

In 1998, Neal moved from Alligator to the blues division of the jazz-based Telarc Records, releasing three albums for the label: Blues Fallin' Down Like Rain (1998), What You Got (2000), and One Step Closer (2001). In the new millennium, Neal recorded sets for a variety of independent labels, including Easy Meeting (a 2003 collaboration with Billy Branch), Double Take (2004, a one-shot return to Alligator), and A Tribute to Slim Harpo and Raful Neal (released in 2005 for True Life Entertainment). Three years later, Neal hooked up with Blind Pig Records and released Let Life Flow in 2008, once again incorporating his gritty Louisiana roots with a sophisticated Chicago/Memphis soul approach. A second Blind Pig release, Hooked on Your Love, appeared two years later in 2010.

In 2015, Neal released his first holiday-themed album, I'll Be Home for Christmas. It was his first album for Cleopatra Records, which also issued his critically acclaimed release, Bloodline in 2016. Kenny's 2016 release, Bloodline, was nomimated for a 2017 Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album and also won two 2017 BMAs (Blues Music Awards); one for Best Contemporary Blues Album and the other for Best Contemporary Male Blues Artist. Kenny Neal, a true living blues Legend is THE REAL DEAL and more poised than ever to deliver the blues like no one else can!


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