Ivan Neville First Solo Album In Almost 20 Years – Touch My Soul – Out: 21 April

Ivan Neville First Solo Album In Almost 20 Years – Touch My Soul – Out: 21 April

12th April 2023 0 By John Deaux

Ivan Neville will release his first solo album in almost 20 years when he releases Touch My Soul on 21 April via The Funk Garage/Mascot Label Group. The album features guests that include; Aaron Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald, Trombone Shorty, Cyril Neville, Doyle Bramhal II and more.

As a standard bearer for the musical culture of New Orleans, Ivan Neville takes his anointing as seriously as the swamp water that courses through his veins. From the ferocious funk he makes with his bandmates in the dynamic Dumpstaphunk to his high- profile gigs with Keith Richards and Bonnie Raitt, he embodies the irrepressible spirit of New Orleans.

Touch My Soul — Ivan’s first solo album in almost 20 years — is tough-minded but also tender, filled with joy, beauty and pain. It exudes an unmistakable New Orleans ambience and breathes new life into his singular sound. It’s both a love letter to the Crescent City and a celebration of his emotional and spiritual journey as an artist, a father and a man. “I haven’t written any new material for myself in a long time,” Ivan explains, “so this project is very special to me. I made it up as I went along, a song here and there, in between my work with Dumpsta and my work with good musical friends.”

Ivan Neville holds the keys to the Crescent City at his fingertips. He can summon the barrelhouse mambo of Professor Longhair and the spidery intricacies of James Booker. He can play spooky, atmospheric chords like Dr. John. He can riff like Sly Stone with catchy, melodic chord progressions. Or he can throw intense, impulsive jabs when he jams with his brothers in Dumpstaphunk.

“Music is a way to make people feel better, it brings spiritual healing,” he says. “I take my job very seriously.” 

Consider that Ivan’s bloodline runs through two of the most influential groups that New Orleans has produced and that he has played with them both. His uncle Art Neville was the vocalist and keyboardist with the Meters, who epitomized New Orleans funk and are among modern music’s most sampled groups.

Art also founded the Neville Brothers with Ivan’s uncles Charles and Cyril, and his father, the great balladeer and stylist Aaron Neville. The Nevilles’ musical range not only spanned generations but also idioms like carnival rhythms, pop, soul, R&B and jazz; their collective identity galvanized Black New Orleans’s cultural life to create a musical identity that focused their individual gifts with grace and grit.
 
Ivan is even more humble about his stature at the highest echelon of modern music. He has performed and recorded with the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Don Henley, Robbie Robertson, Ani DeFranco and the Spin Doctors, among many others. He’s a charter member of Keith Richards’ X-Pensive Winos. He’s a founding member of the New Orleans Social Club and the group Neville Jacobs, in partnership with the songwriter Chris Jacobs.

The writing of Touch My Soul began with an epiphany. “When I was growing up,” Ivan says, “people interacted differently on the street. They acknowledged each other. There was a feeling of connection. Just a nod or a look that said, ‘Where y’at?’”  “Hey (All Together)” brings that feeling back, with vocal contributions from Michael McDonald, Bonnie Raitt, Big Aaron, and David Shaw of the Revivalists, and instrumental sparks from Troy Andrews on trombone and violinist Theresa Anderson.

There is a sense of community-mindedness that extends throughout an album that’s alive with the pulse of the Crescent City. “Greatest Place On Earth” is an authentic slice of street corner soul, a deliriously Mardi Gras-styled salute packed with incisive rhythms, booting horn parts, and vocal fireworks.

Ivan constructed Touch My Soul around piano pieces that he composed in the picture- filled “sunroom” in his house in Uptown New Orleans. “The drum loops were inspired by the sounds I heard on Sly Stone’s Fresh album,” he says, “which was a big influence on me as a teen.”

“People try to warn us about the risks in life, but we want to learn for ourselves,” he says. “And we have a choice whether we want to learn from our mistakes. I believe the more we embrace our vulnerabilities, our imperfections, our insecurities, the better we become. That’s my goal: stay teachable.”

Two songs, in particular, speak directly to Ivan’s search for the touchstones that guide him today: the meaning of acceptance and surrender as a path to achieving peace of mind — and both sound like cinematic classics. “Blessed,” whose undulating guitar recalls the Isley Brothers’ scintillating mid-80s sound, reflects what it means to feel the presence of a universal spirit. And “Touch My Soul,” with its exquisite string arrangement, comes from “a new understanding of what it means to love, and be loved.”

 “It’s taken me years to understand that it’s all about the journey, it’s not about the finish line,” Ivan says. “Everything serves a purpose. We just have to pay attention. So I look for blessings everywhere,” he concludes.

Tracklisting:

1. Hey All Together (Ft. Aaron Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald, Trombone Shorty, Dave Shaw)
2. Greatest Place On Earth (Ft. Trombone Shorty, Ben Jaffe, Charlie Gabriel)
3. Might Last A Lifetime (Ft. Cyril Neville)
4. Dance Music Love (Ft. Doyle Bramall II)
5. Touch My Soul
6. Stand For Something 
7. Blessed
8. This Must Be The Place
9. Pass It All Around
10. Beautiful Tears (Thoughts & Prayers)

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