published Friday, June 8th, 2012

More than a collection of familiar names

IF YOU GO

What: Royal Southern Brotherhood.

When: 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Where: Unum Stage at Riverbend.

Admission: Admission pin or wristband required.

The guys in blues/rock band Royal Southern Brotherhood -- Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Mike Zito -- all say getting the group together didn't exactly happen overnight, but that nearly everyone did see it as a good idea.

Even though each of the three had solo careers going or their own band and weren't really looking for a new gig, once the idea was broached by Ruben Williams, who manages all three, it seemed right.

"Things just fell into place," Zito said.

"Devon and I and Cyril all came up with an idea, and we'd add things to it. Slowly but surely that felt good, and it came together."

Zito is joined in the band by two guys with famous last names. The 63-year-old Neville first made a name for himself as a member of The Meters, along with brother Art. When they broke up, he joined other family members in The Neville Brothers. He's also been performing with Galactic and Tab Benoit.

His career has included performing with Bono, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan.

While Allman has played guitar onstage with his father, Gregg, he's plotted his own course with his band Honeytribe.

Zito fronts his own band as well and won the 2010 Blues Music Award for Song of the Year for "Pearl River," a song he co-wrote with Neville.

Neville said putting the three together created a "great musical gumbo," where each of the ingredients blends with the others.

"It's getting better and better every night," he said. "We all enjoy playing together, and nobody loses any part of themselves."

Rounding out the group that will play Wednesday are Charlie Wooten, Yonrico Scott, Johnny Sansone and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux.

Allman said all egos have been checked at the door, and the thrilling part for him is that, so far, everything has been about the music.

"Everyone has put the music first in the studio and onstage," he said. "It doesn't always happen that way when you are dealing with a band.

"Plus, it's perpetuating a style of music we all love. That's the coolest part."

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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