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Royal Southern Brotherhood is hitting its stride

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Cyril Neville says Royal Southern Brotherhood is working out better than any of the all-star band's members expected it would when the group formed in 2011.

Than again, he adds that none of the musicians knew what to expect three yars ago.

"Keep in mind that at the beginning of it none of us basically really knew each other," says Neville, 66, one of New Orleans' famed Neville Brothers. The group was formed by Reuben Williams, who managed both Neville and guitarist Mike Zito, who subsequently left RSB earlier this year. But after plenty of touring, two studio albums and a live set, Neville says the quintet -- which also includes singer-guitarist Devon Allman (son of Gregg), new guitarist Bart Walker, bassist Charlie Wootona nd drummer Yonrico Start -- has grown into a tight working unit.

"At teh beginning it was basically just me and Mike and Devon writing the maerial," Neville notes, "and it's evolved into this thing where we're able to tap into everybody's expertise. You don't miss anybody's individuality, but at the same time everything has made this special musical gumbo -- that's still evolving as we speak, which is exciting."

That also bodes well for RSB's next album, which the group plans to record during January with Grammy Award-winning producer Tom Hambridge at FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala. for release in the spring.

"We've got at least 13 to 14 songs, and we're still working on different stuff," Neville reports. "It's been a great opportunity to have time to really sit down and get really prepared before we go into teh studio and just get ahead of the game at this point.

"We've got some ice collaborations we're planning on doing that I can't mention now, but it's gonna be a really good record with some really tasteful added attractions. It's kind of our next step, and we're really excited about it."

Royal Southern Brotherhood and the Dirty Basement Blues Band

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18.

Callahan's Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills.

Tickets are $35 and $25.

Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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