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Music legends form super group and explore new sound

The band The Royal Southern Brotherhood, from left, Charlie Wooten, Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Yonrico Scott.
The band The Royal Southern Brotherhood, from left, Charlie Wooten, Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Yonrico Scott. Jerry Moran - Lionel Midford Publicity

IT'S NOT every day a new super group is formed.

And when musical legends Cyril Neville and Devon Allman start up a new band, blues and soul fans take notice.

Neville and Allman formed the Royal Southern Brotherhood less than a year ago, enlisting the help of fellow Thunderbird Management Group musician guitarist Mike Zito.

"Our manager Rueben Williams really likes to stay behind the scenes but you can't talk about this story without mentioning him. Without him the group wouldn't exist," said Neville.

"We had all known about each other and respected each other's solo careers and everything.

"We started the process of seeing if something that looks good on paper could actually come into fruition and reality."

Using the internet and Garage Band, the trio started exploring their style and sound.

"We threw song ideas around and started discussing different songs we could cover and turn into our own," he said.

"That went on for a few months….we had a pretty good idea when we hit the studio of what we wanted to do."

Neville, Allman and Zito asked bassist Charlie Wooton and drummer Yonrico Scott to complete the line-up.

"We're blessed to have those guys in our rhythm section," he said.

"They completed our good gumbo.

"Charlie and Yonrico both are shows within themselves."

In less than a week the five-piece had recorded their self-titled debut album.

"We basically got in the studio and had two days practicing, and in five days the whole CD was done," said Neville.

The album, which was released in May, shot up the Billboard Blues Charts and fan demand has already seen the band play in 19 countries, including two tours of Europe.

They will play Australia for the first time in March next year for the 2013 Byron Bluesfest and sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne.

"We're looking forward to coming to Australia and showing everybody what we have so they can get an idea of what we're doing," Neville said.

"It's been like something really special when the record came out and it was in the charts It's been in and out ever since."

Neville says fans can expect a fun show where all five musicians get their chance to shine.

"What's good about the group is we are all still individuals even though we are in a group," he said.

"Nobody gets smothered, instead everybody gets enhanced. Our harmonies are really tight."

The show will be a mix of original songs and covers of classic hits like The Grateful Dead's Fire on the Mountain, The Allman Brother's One Way Out and The Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter.

"We've already talked about doing another record," Neville said.

"We come up with new material almost every day."

The Byron Bay Bluesfest plays the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm from March 28 to April 1.

For more information and tickets go to www.bluesfest.com.au.

Topics:  blues bluesfest 2013 music music festival soul



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