Artist: Aaron Neville
Label: Tell It Records
Release Date: 07/15/2016
Aaron Neville turned 75 this past January and has been celebrating ever since. He’s been touring non-stop, and in July he released Apache, his first new studio album since 2013’s My True Story. For someone who has been making music for more than 50 years—his first hit single, “Tell It Like It Is,” was released in 1966—it’s difficult to keep things fresh, but Apache manages to do just that by covering the range of musical styles and influences that have always made the third of the four Neville brothers difficult to pin down.
Over the years, Aaron has dedicated entire albums to a single genre. Nature Boy covered familiar jazz standards, and Bring It On Home was a collection of Soul classics. He’s done R&B, New Orleans jazz, Creole, funk, even a Christmas album, but Apache shows his breadth on 11 new songs, many written wholly or in part by Neville. The album was produced by Eric Krasno, who has toured with Aaron, brother Art and other members of the Neville clan in support of the record.
“Be Your Man,” the lead single, kicks things off with a blast of horns and ‘70s-style funk. “Stompin’ Ground” takes things in a different direction, with a more down-home beat, as Neville shares memories and characters of his early days playing music on the streets of New Orleans. There are the soulful “Orchid in the Storm” and the doo wop-infused “Sarah Ann,” but the spiritual “Heaven” and the tender “I Wanna Love You” best showcase Neville’s warm, rich timbre.
The unifying element of these eclectic musical choices is the voice of Aaron Neville, still strong and vibrant after 75 years. Happy Birthday, Aaron.