Legendary Vocalist Aaron Neville to Sing at MASS MoCA

Aaron Neville(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – In what has become a tradition at MASS MoCA, one of the great icons of American music, Aaron Neville, helps usher in the summer season at MASS MoCA with a Memorial Day Weekend concert on Saturday, May 25, 2013, at 8pm, in the Hunter Center. Neville, one of the true great vocalists of the last half-century, whose musical range includes soul, R&B, pop standards, country, opera, gospel, and, of course, his native New Orleans music, will be joined by his saxophonist brother, Charles Neville – who now calls Western Massachusetts home – making for a mini-Neville Brothers reunion.

Aaron Neville’s concert caps the opening weekend of MASS MoCA’s 2013 summer season. Just before his concert, there is an opening reception celebrating three new exhibitions, Guillaume Leblon: Under My Shoe, Jason Middlebrook: My Landscape, and Joseph Montgomery: Five Sets Five Reps, on Saturday, May 25, from 5 to 7pm. Members are admitted free; not-yet-members may attend for $10 per person.

Aaron Neville can sing pretty much anything at make it his own. Neville’s most recent recording, My True Story, is a collection of classic doo-wop and early pop-rock vocal hits. To create the album, Neville teamed up with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and the legendary Blue Note label producer, Don Was. Showcasing the old-school rhythm and blues that were the key influences throughout his career, Neville covers The Drifters (“Money Honey,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “This Magic Moment”)., Hank Ballard and the Midnighters (“Work With Me, Annie”), and Little Anthony and the Imperials (“Tears on My Pillow”).

There are few other artists who can take such warhorses as the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” or the Impressions’ “Gypsy Woman” and find something new to express with them. Neville does, with his smooth, indelible croon finding the soul songs that always lurked within.

“I attended the University of doo-wop-ology,” Neville added. “Anything I do has got some doo-wop in it. It’s just part of me – it’s the texture that I’m singing in, it’s the endings, it’s the harmonies. At 3 o’clock in the morning, I wake up with a doo-wop song going in my head, and I can’t go back to sleep because I’m singing it over and over.”

Neville turned 72 this past January, making him just a few months older than Bob Dylan (who turns 72 the day before Neville’s MASS MoCA concert, and several of whose songs Neville has memorably recorded, including “Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight,” “With God on Our Side,” and “I Shall Be Released”). Neville and Dylan are two of a select few recording artists of their vintage still regularly touring, performing, and releasing albums.

Neville’s deep harmonies and angelic voice emerged in the Calliope projects of New Orleans, where he and his three brothers were raised. He cut his teeth as the most recognizable of the Neville Brothers, the family band that performed together for years, earning countless fans and three Grammy Awards.

Neville’s incredible career has seen him move seamlessly back and forth between solo work and his role in the first family of New Orleans music, the Neville Brothers. His first hit single was the landmark “Tell It Like It Is,” which held the Number One spot on the R&B charts for five weeks in 1967. He went on to win Grammy Awards for his triple-platinum 1989 collaboration with Linda Ronstadt Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind, and reached the Country charts with the title track of 1993’s The Grand Tour. A member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, his most recent project was the gospel album I Know I’ve Been Changed in 2010.

Tickets for Aaron Neville’s Memorial Day weekend performance at MASS MoCA are $75 for premium seating, $49 for priority seating, $40 for orchestra seats, and $34 for mezzanine seats. Museum members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 x1 during Box Office hours, or purchased on line at MASS MoCA. MASS MoCA’s galleries will be open until 7:30pm before the show.

 

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