It's always a party when New Orleans music legends like the Neville Brothers and Dr. John play on the same bill. But the New Orleans Saints' recent Super Bowl victory brings a little extra joy to the tandem these days.
"We've been doing it for a few years," Aaron Neville says of his sibling band's tours with Dr. John. "It's a great show, just a fun gig. Each band complements the other. And everyone loves the New Orleans thing, so it really works."
There's also a deep and long-lasting connection between the third-youngest of the four Neville Brothers and their tour mate. "We've known each other since we were kids," Neville, 69, says. "I met (Dr. John) when I was about 15 or something like that and he called me in to do some background vocals on somebody's record. He wasn't Dr. John 'til a long time later; he was just Mac Rebennack."
The relationship is continuing on a covers collaboration the two are currently working on, "just some old stuff me and him grew up listening to," Neville says, including staples such as "Stormy Monday," "Misty," "Stardust," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and Little Willie John's "Talk to Me." It's one of three projects he's got going, including a gospel album with Rochester Adams grad Joe Henry and a record with Allen Toussaint commemorating the 50th anniversary of Neville's first solo album, which Toussaint also produced.
He's also not ruling out a new Neville Brothers album, either, the group's first since 2004. "We've been talking about it, trying to get material together and see where everyone's at," Neville says. "It's just in the beginning stages, so something will happen, I'm sure."
Mardi Gras Mambo with the Neville Brothers and Dr. John & the Lower 911 plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 17) at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $75, $39.50 and $29.50. Call 734-668-8463 or visit www.michtheater.org.
Send your thoughts and comments to