“They are not a band – they are an extravaganza” – John Hiatt
“The music these men make together draws on their richly various experience—funk, blues, hard rock, reggae—as individual artists, but it’s blended into a single tightly focused form of timeless Southern expression known as blues-rock, and they play the living hell out of it.” – John Sinclair
Before they even hit a chord, ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD have your attention. In the US South, where music is religion, two rock ‘n’ roll bloodlines tower above all others. In the saloon bars from Mississippi to Maryland, mere mention of the Allman and Neville Brothers casts a magic spell. Conversation falls silent. Pool balls stop rolling. Ten-gallon hats are tipped in respect and beer-bottles raised in salute. These aren’t just bands, they’re gods, and with a lineup comprising both the iconic Cyril Neville and Devon Allman, Royal Southern Brotherhood come pre-loaded with expectations. Don’t worry: they can match them. The family tree might be auspicious, but this new band trades on talent, not genealogy. It’s not about rock history: it’s about the here-and-now. Right now, the buzz is all about Royal Southern Brotherhood’s debut album, bottled with producer Jim Gaines in Louisiana. But let’s rewind to the summer of 2010 and the stifling heat of New Orleans: the city that both hosted the Allmans’ early residence as house band at The Warehouse, and provided the backdrop to the pivotal meeting between Cyril, Devon and Mike 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.
A fistful of demos hinted at the project’s potential, and the web buzzed as a volley of teaser videos hit YouTube, but Royal Southern Brotherhood truly arrived when they broke cover in the flesh at their debut show at New Orleans’ Rock ‘N’ Bowl last September. This was southern rock, but not as we knew it, as tumbling three-part harmonies and hickory-smoked guitar riffs weaved together both families’ styles with added rocket-fuel. The crowd reaction said it all: Royal Southern Brotherhood had crashed the rock scene like a wrecking ball.
This lineup has talent to burn. You’ll already know Cyril Neville: 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 took 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 on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and HBO’s Treme. It’s one hell of a CV… but he’s only just getting started.
Likewise Devon Allman. As the son of Gregg Allman, the 36-year-old has rock ‘n’ roll in his DNA, but he’s always walked his own path. Growing up apart from his father in St Louis, MO, and refusing to trade on his celebrity surname, Devon’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.
In the last seven years, Devon has plotted an old-school ascent, crossing 14 countries on tour, blowing the roof off a new venue each night, and watching as fans and heroes alike fall under his spell. There’s been a Top 10 hit in Spain with Javier Vargas, albums alongside Jack Bruce, jam sessions with heavyweights like Les Paul and Billy Gibbons, even the launch of his own signature amp with Fuchs Audio Technology. When Devon takes the stage – either with Honeytribe or during cameos with his father and the Allmans – fans are wowed by a guitarist who can be smooth, savage or seismic, but it’s in Royal Southern Brotherhood that you’ll hear this modern master playing at full-throttle. Not many guitarists could stand toe-to-toe with him. Step up Bart Walker, who replaced Mike Zito in Fall, 2014: As if it weren’t enough to win the 2012 International Blues Challenge’s prestigious Best Guitarist award and to log thousands upon thousands of miles touring with his own outfit The Bart Walker Band and to be able to provide enough firepower to ignite any town he blows into, Walker now challenges himself even further by taking over as co-lead guitar player with Allman – one of the most coveted spots in one of the most sought-after lineups touring today.
But like Cyril says, it’s all about making “a good gumbo”, and that’s where God’s own rhythm section comes in. Giving Royal Southern Brotherhood its hip-shaking groove are bassist Charlie Wooton and drummer Yonrico Scott: both heavyweight names in their own right, with Charlie’s bass chops celebrated on the Southern jam scene for his sets with the Woods Brothers, and Yonrico hitting the skins for luminaries including the Derek Trucks Band, Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers themselves. When these five stellar musicians come together as Royal Southern Brotherhood, the planets align.
They said that rock ‘n’ roll was dead, but they were wrong. Right now, in 2014, there’s something in the air, as Royal Southern Brotherhood drag their thrilling new brand of blues-rock and white-hot musicianship from the Southern States onto the world stage.
The South is rising again. Come along for the ride.CYRIL NEVILLE
Cyril has co-written songs with Bono of U2, Taj Mahal, Daniel Lanois, to name a few and was the one that Lanois credits as the musical catalyst that led to the Neville’s Grammy Award winning record “YELLOW MOON.” Most recently he has fronted and sang for New Orleans Funk band Galactic, the Voice of the Wetlands All-stars, The Neville Brothers, and continues to do shows with his own group Tribe 13. His most resent television have been on 2011’s episode of Jimmie Kimmel LIVE and HBO’s hit series “Treme.” Cyril is featured on recordings by Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Edie Brickell, Willie Nelson, plus many more. He has performed all over the world including the infamous Amnesty International tour with U2 and the Police and has sung for Nelson Mandela. There is no doubt that with in the first few vocal notes it is easy to tell that musical royalty runs deep in Cyril’s blood and he remains a percussionist to be reckoned with.
1994 The Fire This Time (Endangered Species) The Uptown Allstars
1998 Soulo (Endangered Species) Cyril solo
2000 New Orleans Cookin’ (Endangered Species) Cyril solo
2003 For The Funk Of It (Kongo Square) The Uptown Allstars
2007 The Healing Dance (Jomar/Silk) Tribe 13
2009 Brand New Blues (M.C.) Cyril solo
2010 The Essetial Cyril Neville (MC) Cyril solo
w/ the Neville Brothers
1978: The Neville Brothers (Capitol)
1981: Fiyo on the Bayou (A&M)
1984: Live Nevillization (Black Top)
1987: Uptown (EMI)
1987: Nevillization 2 (Live At Tipitina’s Volume 2) (Spindletop)
1989: Yellow Moon (A&M)
1990: Brother’s Keeper (A&M)
1992: Family Groove (A&M)
1994: Live on Planet Earth (A&M)
1995: Mitakuye Oyasin Oyasin/All My Relations (A&M)
1997: The Carnival (Guest appearance, song ‘Mona Lisa’)
1999: Valence Street (Columbia)
2004: Walkin’ In The Shadow Of Life (Back Porch)
Allman is endorsed by Gibson, has his own signature ‘Devon Allman’ amp with Fuchs Audio Technology and has played onstage alongside Les Paul, Billy Gibbons, John Popper among many others. He’s a true old school gunslinger bringing fire and mood to the ROYAL tapestry. His guitar style evokes shades of past masters like Carlos Santana, Dickey Betts and Mick Taylor, while his voice is steeped in soul and blues’ multi-dimensional and full of power.
Vargas Blues Band: ‘LOVE UNION PEACE’ Dro / Warner Brothers 2005
Devon Allman’s Honeytribe: ‘TORCH’ Livewire Recordings / Rykodisc 2006
Vargas Blues Band: ‘FLAMENCO BLUES EXPERIENCE’ Dro / Warner Brothers 2008
Devon Allman’s Honeytribe: ‘SPACE AGE BLUES’ Provogue Records 2010
By age fourteen, Yonrico began private study with Motown drummer, George Hamilton. His musical accomplishments continued throughout college, and during his freshman year at Kentucky State University, he was voted, ‘Drummer of the Year.’ He later transferred to the University of Kentucky to study with Dave Davenport, Professor of Percussion and Principal Timpanist of the Lexington Philharmonic, where he received a B.A. in Performance Percussion in 1978.
In 1979, Yonrico accepted an Artist in Residency assignment in Atlanta, GA, with The Neighborhood Arts Center’s Department of Cultural Affairs. It wasn’t long afterwards that Yonrico became one of Atlanta’s most sought-after studio drummers. Since 1995, Yonrico has been touring the world as a member of the Derek Trucks Band (dTb). (The dTb is a Sony Music Entertainment artist with recent television appearances on the CBS Early Show, the Conan O’Brien Show, & A&E’s Breakfast in the Arts, among others.) Their self-titled debut CD was released on Landslide Records in October 1997. Since then, the band has released six additional recordings: Out of the Madness, Joyful Noise, Soul Serenade, Live at the Georgia Theatre, Songlines, and most recently, Already Free (2009).
The dTb has headlined the popular ‘Blues Cruise’ and ‘Jam Cruise,’ and completed multiple tours of Japan & Europe. They’ve opened for and performed with artists such as: BB King, Eric Clapton, Santana, Buddy Guy, Joe Satriani, John Popper, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Gregg Allman and Friends, Gov’t Mule, Leftover Salmon, Taj Mahal, Little Milton, Mavis Staples, and Otis Rush. Yonrico also collaborates & tours internationally with Grammy Award Winner, Earl Klugh, and his own band, the Yonrico Scott Band (YSB), which includes Kofi Burbridge, Keys/Flute, and Todd Smallie, Bass. YSB’s debut release, Turning the Corner, was released in January, 2004.
Throughout his musical career, Yonrico has recorded and/or performed with a Who’s Who list of well-known artists. Most recently, he has collaborated with The Ying Yang Twins and Outkast. Other notable artists include Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Peabo Bryson, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Sammy Davis Jr., Chuck Berry, George Howard, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Joshua Redman, George Benson, Anita Baker, Tinsley Ellis, The Allman Brothers Band, Susan Tedeschi, Kansas, John Scofield, Bruce Hampton, Cecil Bridgewater, Alvin Batiste, Gary Burton, Fiji Mariners, Andrew White, Gregg Allman, John Denver, Ben E. King, The 3 Degrees, The Supremes, Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh, The Lexington Philharmonic, and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, among others. Yonrico’s Broadway tour performances include The Wiz, 5 Guys Named Moe, and Dream Girls.
Yonrico’s endorsements include Pearl Drums, Ziljian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, LP Percussion, and Everyone’s Drumming.