Neal plays family fundraiser
Rockland — It never became a hurricane, but a storm system in the Gulf of Mexico in August produced so much rain in and around Baton Rouge that the Red Cross has called it likely the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy.
Among those affected by the historic flooding that resulted is the extended clan of bluesman Kenny Neal, a favorite among Midcoast blues fans. In 2009, Kenny Neal’s Family Reunion filled the stage of the North Atlantic Blues Festival.
On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Neal is coming to Rockland, on his own, to play a fundraiser for his family. The multi-award-winning talent will perform, alongside local musicians, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Time Out Pub, 275 Main St.
“The Neal Family have always stuck together, that's how we roll,” Neal said on the gofundme site set up for donations, “and we live close together, too.”
When the floods came, they wiped out the bottom floor of Neal’s home, but the homes of his siblings, nephews and children were completely devastated.
“Although everyone is safe, many of them have had a total loss,” he said, describing water reaching the roofline of some homes.
The family also performs together. Neal’s latest album, this summer’s “Bloodline,” features no less than eight members of the Neal clan lending their musical talents. Kenny Neal, born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge, began playing music at a young age. Learning the basics from his father, late singer and blues harmonica master Raful Neal, Kenny is known as a modern swamp blues multi-instrumentalist, drawing from the sizzling sounds of his native Louisiana.
A member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Neal will be shipping out on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise just a few days after visiting the Midcoast. Admission to the Oct. 25 benefit show is a minimum donation is $20. The following evening — Wednesday, Oct. 26 — Neal will play an acoustic house party at series producer Paul Benjamin’s home. This show is limited to 20 people, $50 donation; call Benjamin at 596-6055.