Kenny Neal

 Warm up your sing-along voice.

Kenny Neal is returning to The Bender next month to perform some Baton Rouge Swamp Blues and he’s expecting a lot of audience participation.

“I do a lot of ‘sing-along’ songs,” said Neal. “I want my audience to have a good time and feel they’re a part of the show.”

He’ll perform again at The Charles Bender Performing Arts Center near Historic Downtown Humble Saturday, June 14, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at humblepac.com for $15.

Neal is a New Orleans native who has developed his own special sound, “Baton Rouge Swamp Blues,” which he describes as a combination of New Orleans jazz and ragtime with a little Cajun swing to it.

“My music is a combination of all those different musical traditions I grew up with,” said Neal.

He performed at The Bender a year ago because Jennifer Wooden, director of The Bender as well as the Humble Civic Center, asked him to.

“Jennifer and her mom came to see me in New York City when I was on Broadway in the play, ‘Mule Bone,’” said Neal. “They only knew me as an actor and were surprised to learn I was a blues singer, too, who’d performed in Humble before.”

Neal is well known and well loved by blues fans across America and across the ocean. Prior to entertaining his Lake Houston fans, Neal will perform at the Baton Rouge Soul Food Fest, then travel to Ohio to headline the Canton Blues Festival. Following his Bender performance, this genuine blues legend will head to Austin to perform, then travel to Alberta, Canada to perform once again at the Calgary International Blues Festival before making his way across the Atlantic to perform in Romania, the Netherlands and Ireland.

And he continues to support the Kids Rock the Nation Foundation which provides guitars to youngsters who can’t afford them.

“Learning to play helps these kids build self-esteem, keeps them busy and keeps them out of trouble,” Neal said.

With Grammy award-winning artists like Neal performing at The Bender, Humble has become the “mecca” for weekend entertainment in Lake Houston. “Music on Main,” for example, features free concerts with local artists at Uptown Park in Historic Downtown Humble on the second Friday of every month. To learn who will be performing next at Music on Main, look for the flyer in the City of Humble’s utility statements and become their Facebook friend by visiting Music on Main, Humble TX.

The refurbished and refreshed Bender, built in 1929 as Charles Bender High School, now is the performing arts center for Humble and the entire Lake Houston area. Almost 6,000 guests have marveled at the art deco lighting, the wood-stained columns, and the original hardwood floors on the stage – and enjoyed the diverse live performances on that same stage, including oldies, current, classical, ethnic and innovative music, dance, and creative and original stage plays.

Coming to The Bender in July: Sting Ray Anthony’s “Juke Box Rock” Labamba Concert, July 7; The Fab 5, a Houston-based Beatles Tribute Band, July 12; and “Blues, Ragtime and All That Jazz, a Night of American Music,” July 20.

Warm up your sing-along vocal cords and purchase tickets to see Neal in person at The Bender June 14 at 7 p.m.: call 281-446-4140 or visit humblepac.com or on Facebook at Charles Bender Performing Arts Center.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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