MAROUETTE - Noted blues artist Kenny Neal and his New Orleans Band will be in concert on Friday, April 4 in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center at Northern Michigan University.

It will be the final concert in this year's Cultural Events Series at NMU. Neal will be on stage beginning at 9 p.m., with a local group, Fast Eddie Blues Band, performing at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $4 for students, $8 for NMU faculty and staff and $10 for the general public. Outlets are The Superior Dome, University Center Snak Shak, Forest Roberts Theatre and Lakeview Arena. They also are available at the door. For phone orders, call 227-1032.

There will be general club seating with a dance floor. A cash bar will be available.

Neal is a second-generation New Orleans blues musician - his father was a Baton Rouge singer and rmonica player - who also starred in the 1991 Broadway musical "Mule Bone." He received the Theatre World Award for most outstanding new talent on and off Broadway.

CD Review calls Neal's music "big, raucous, sweaty barrelhouse blues ... explosive guitar... immense energy, the best of the new generation.'

Neal and his band spent early 1994 opening for blues great B.B. King throughout Japan. In 1993, the group toured Africa as a guest of the U.S. Information Agency.

Wherever he went, Neal mingled with the residents, often jamming with local musicians after his show was over.

Neal has been playing the blues ever since family friend and blues master Slim Harpo gave a crying three-year-old Kenny a harmonica to pacify him. Not only did Neal learn to play that harmonica, he also moved on to the bass, trumpet, piano and guitar. He often sneaked into his father's rehearsal room and played the various instruments when no one was around.

After five years as a professional, Neal - still a teen-ager - moved to Toronto and formed the Neal Brothers Blues Band. He then created the Downchild Blues Band, which became Canada's leading blues outfit.

His second album, "Devil Child," released in 1989, was named the number one blues radio record in the U.S.

"contact is Wayne Francis, coordinator of cultural affairs. He can be reached at 227-1481"

Prepared By
Sue Jentoft