The Royal Southern Brotherhood, a new group featuring Mike Zitto, Devon Allman, Cyril Neville, Derek Trucks Band’s Yonrico Scott and Charlie Wooten, will perform at Fat Fish Pub on June 28.
Nodding to their individual family bands and southern roots, the group plays a sound that nods to “the soul of the South, amplified soul for the new generation.”
Before they even hit a chord, Royal Southern Brotherhood has your attention. In the South, where music is religion, two rock ’n’ roll bloodlines tower above all others. In the bars from Mississippi to Maryland, mere mention of the Allman and Neville brothers names casts a magic spell.
Royal Southern Brotherhood comes pre-loaded with expectations — and they can match them.
Right now, the buzz is all about Royal Southern Brotherhood’s debut album with producer Jim Gaines in Louisiana.
But rewind to the summer of 2010 and New Orleans for the pivotal meeting between Neville, Allman and Zito. Talk turned to forming a new breed of blues-rock band, and when jams began at a secluded studio in the city’s Garden District, the fizzing chemistry was too strong to deny.
Royal Southern Brotherhood truly arrived at their debut show at New Orleans’ Rock ’N’ Bowl last September.
Neville is a poet, philosopher, percussion master and perhaps the South’s last great soul singer. At 63, this is the latest chapter in a career that began with 1970’s debut solo single, “Gossip,” and his touchdown in the lineup of older brother Art’s funk outfit, The Meters, who had already hit big with 1969’s immortal “Cissy Strut.” Cyril lent percussion and vocals to classic albums including 1972’s “Cabbage Alley” and 1975’s “Fire On The Bayou,” and when über-fan Mick Jagger invited The Meters to open the Rolling Stones’ stadium tour of 1975, he suggested Cyril take vocals (they agreed). Post-Meters — he’s been key to the rise of The Neville Brothers — created alchemy with Bob Dylan, Bono and Willie Nelson, toured with funk act Galactic, led his solo band Tribe 13, and made TV appearances.
As the son of Gregg Allman, the 36-year-old Allman has rock ’n’ roll in his DNA, but he’s always walked his own path. Growing up apart from his father in St Louis and refusing to trade on his celebrity surname, Allman’s formative influences took in everyone from The Beatles to KISS, while his early bands ran the musical gamut rather than echo the Allmans. In 1999, he hit the radar as leader of Honeytribe, whose fearless albums announced him as a next-generation guitar hero, but by his thirties, the pull of his southern heritage couldn’t be denied, and he willingly fell into the soul-drenched blues-rock style that recalls his key influences, Carlos Santana and his uncle Duane Allman, while making his own mark.
Zito, a blues ace whose ear for melody provides the counterpoint to his wingman’s rocking tendencies, was nominated in 2011 for the Blues Music Foundation’s Best Blues Rock award, and was winner of 2010’s Blues Music Award for Song Of The Year with the title track of “Pearl River” (a co-write with Neville).
Giving Royal Southern Brotherhood its hip-shaking groove are bassist Wooton and drummer Scott: both heavyweight names in their own right.
If You Go…
• What: Royal Southern Brotherhood
• When: June 28 — doors open at 4 p.m., show at 6 p.m.
• Where: Fat Fish Pub, 158 N. Broad St., Galesburg
• Tickets: $25 in advance or $30 on the day of the show
• Information: Visit www.fatfishpub.com