In late 1966, when a track titled "Tell It like It Is" exploded onto the popular music music scene and quickly shot up to #2 top top Billboard"s hot 100 and #1 on Billboard"s hot R&B surveys, no one might have been more surprised 보다 its singer, a then-25-year-old brand-new Orleanian called Aaron Neville.

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The voice behind the track was unlike any type of ever heard in the American popular music canon as much as that point. The smooth, heartfelt crooning the the distinctly pronounced lyrics, mostly ceded in a look at effortless falsetto selection and ornamented with an opera-like coloratura trill, instantly wowed radio deejays and also listeners nationwide. "Tell It favor It Is" sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold Disc.

"It to be a an excellent song, yet I yes, really didn"t think it to be the one," Neville recalled during a recent phone interview native his farm in upstate brand-new York. "I assumed it was just one more ballad, but my brother arts said, "No, this is it, appropriate here. This is a hit." The next thing ns know, it was to run up the charts."

Aaron Neville"s to sing career could have peaked and also ended best there, and also he might have gone under in musical history as just an additional one-hit wonder. His follow-up records did not perform well, and also he was compelled to job-related at menial tasks to support his young family.


However, the vocal tube that some music reviewers have termed "angelic" and also "the only voice like it top top the planet" might not it is in held ago indefinitely. Teaming up as lead vocalist for The Neville brothers in the mid-1970s v his brothers art (keyboards), Charles (saxophone), and also Cyril (percussion and also vocals), Aaron resurrected his singing career. The blossomed into a Cinderella success story the would proceed for the next 4 decades. And, ~ pairing up on duets through Linda Ronstadt in the so late 80s, the was completely back in the public eye, which brought about a string of #1 singles in the 1990s, plus plenty of awards, accolades, and also concert dates worldwide.

Today, in ~ 78 year old, Neville deserve to still struggle his trademark high notes, as he demonstrated end the phone v a full musical bar during this interview. Those notes will be heard on few of his best-known song at this year"s new Orleans Jazz & heritage Festival top top Saturday, may 4, once he performs as component of the Aaron Neville Quintet top top the Gentilly Stage, from 4:00 - 5:05 p.m.

He will likewise sing a couple of numbers through Trombone Shorty and Orleans way on Sunday, might 5, closing out this year"s festival ~ above the Acura Stage, and will possibly also participate in a tribute come Allen Toussaint on the exact same stage, simply prior to his own performance.

During the interview, Neville wouldn"t speculate on i beg your pardon of his song he could be singing during his segment. "There"ll be part old ones and some brand-new ones. That"s what us do," that said. "It"s gonna it is in a good show-a power hour."

He did, however, hint that "Tell It like It Is" could be ~ above the program.

He additionally hinted that other family members could be joining that onstage, consisting of one or both the his sons, Jason and also Ivan, talented musicians in their own right. Or probably his sister Athelgra, one of the singers in The Dixie Cups, who will be coming before him top top the very same stage, and also possibly also younger brother Cyril.


Neville"s Jazz Fest appearance can be his just concert day in new Orleans this year. Once asked how regularly he gets to go back to his former hometown, his sad reply was, "Not often enough. The just time i play down there is at Jazz Fest.

"They don"t rental me for anything anymore. I supplied to execute the home of Blues. Ns did the French 4 minutes 1 Fest a couple of years ago. But now, castle don"t hire me. I go all over else in the world, but brand-new Orleans gets me only as soon as a year," that added, with traces the sadness noticeable in his voice.

Snippets the Neville"s beforehand life and his struggles during the skinny years in between "Tell It favor It Is" and also the later on success that The Neville Brothers space told in a 2000 publication titled The brothers Neville, by The Neville Brothers and David Ritz (reviewed in the October 2000 issue of Where Y"at).

"But ns didn"t tell everything , therefore I need to write another one," Neville claimed with a soft laugh.

Born right into a musical family in 1941, Aaron Joseph Neville to be the 3rd oldest boy after Arthur Jr. (Art) and also Charles. In addition to his brothers and other family members members, consisting of aunts, uncles and cousins, he thrived up ~ above Valence Street in the city"s 13th Ward.

Among his childhood friends was Leo Morris, that later, together Idris Muhammad, became a renowned jazz drummer with a lengthy association v pianist Ahmad Jamal. It was Morris who presented Neville come his future wife, Joel Roux, in 1957, as soon as they were both 18. Lock married two years later and also stayed married till 2007, when Joel surrendered to cancer.

For a short time after ~ "Tell It prefer It Is" hit the charts, Neville appreciated the thrill the touring with various other top-selling artists to together venerated theaters together the Apollo in new York and also others in pop music centers like Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and also more.

But the lean years that the late 60s and early 70s found Neville struggling through drug addiction and also financial woes the seriously strained-but didn"t end-his marriage. Recognize his faith, he obtained clean, reunited with his wife and children, and also proceeded under the road to recovery that led to also greater fame 보다 he had known previously.

In a 1976 record session created by Allen Toussaint for Island Records, Neville and his brothers backed up your uncle, George Landry (known as big Chief Jolly) of the Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indian tribe. Indigenous there, The Neville Brothers, as a performing group, to be born, recording their first album under the name 2 years later.

With Aaron singing lead in his trademark falsetto, the group took turn off in the 1980s through a string of studio and live albums, including the highly acclaimed Fiyo top top the Bayou (1981) and Yellow Moon (1989). Also in 1989, Neville"s star climbed even higher when he and Linda Ronstadt tape-recorded their Grammy Award-winning duet album, Cry choose a Rainstorm, Howl prefer the Wind.

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2 songs native the album, "Don"t know Much" and also "All my Life," hit #1 top top the Billboard warm 100, and the album was certified Triple Platinum for sales of an ext than 3 million.

Throughout the 90s, Neville ran off a succession of height hits as a solo artist, including "Don"t Take far My Heaven," "Can"t protect against My love From loving You," and cover version of "Everybody dram the Fool" and "Please Come house for Christmas." He likewise continued come perform and record with The Neville brothers while doing well with his solo career into the early on 2000s.


Catastrophe struck in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina floodwaters damaged Neville"s house in brand-new Orleans East. Evacuating come the Northshore, then to Nashville and brand-new York, he has only went back periodically to his old hometown due to the fact that then, many notably for his mam Joel"s funeral in 2007.

A year later, throughout a People magazine photo shoot, Neville met photographer sarah A. Friedman, and also they were married ~ above November 12, 2010, in new York City. That has continued to record as a solo act through his own back-up band, releasing three CDs in the past six years: My True Story (reviewed in Where Y"at in might 2013), Bring the On house … The spirit Classics, and also his latest, Apache, a arsenal of all-original tunes, including a sentimental tribute come his new wife, title "Sarah Ann."

Neville proceeds to tour to cities large and small, mainly in the Northeast, but his heart and also his roots will always remain in brand-new Orleans. He stated he is looking front to this year"s Jazz Fest and also helping come celebrate its 50th anniversary.

For countless years, The Neville Brothers were the closing action on the festival"s main stage, but, v the retirement the Art and also the recent passing the Charles, this is no much longer possible. However, this year, Aaron will certainly be rather resurrecting that closing legacy when he join Trombone Shorty on stage at the festival"s finale through Neville"s son Ivan and also his nephew Ian, who is Art"s son and also the command guitarist because that Dumpstaphunk, who is also performing ~ above the Acura stage on Thursday, might 2.

Aaron expects to be singing 2 of his favorites during his guest appearance: "Yellow Moon," the title monitor of The Neville Brothers" album through the exact same name, and also the sacred classic hymn "Amazing Grace."

Closing out the interview, Aaron sent out an appeal come the civilization of the city whereby he to be born and raised and also that he still loves: "Just don"t forget to tell brand-new Orleans that I"m still around."