The distinct beauty of Aaron Neville’s voice has been a constant through a recording career that covers regional soul of New Orleans – his integral work with his siblings in the Neville Brothers – his crossover pop success with Linda Ronstadt in the ’80s and his more recent tributes to his old doo-wop and gospel influences.
Now 75 Neville’s latest album Apache (a nickname from his youth) reconnects him with the sounds of 1960s and ’70s New Orleans soul courtesy of producer Eric Krasno of the bands Soulive and Lettuce.
Apache also serves as Neville’s reclamation of a youth fraught with challenges.
He served a six-month stint in Orleans Parish Prison for car theft at the age of 19 and was later sentenced for burglary (the result of his falling in with a bad manager – the 1950s R&B singer and pimp Larry Williams).
He also struggled with addiction into the early ’80s.
Neville’s poems—candid statements on love – awareness of the world and his memories—are the lyrical source for the majority of the album – a first for a singer whose work is typically more interpretive.