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Although not a household name, Johnny Neel is a Grammy award nominee recognized in the music world for his work with the Allman Brothers, Lonnie Mack and Gov't Mule, among others. In addition to his soulful vocals, harp, piano and B-3 proficiency, Johnny is an accomplished songwriter whose tunes have been recorded by the likes of the Allman Brothers, Joe Louis Walker, John Mayall, Irma Thomas, Ann Peebles, Marie Osmond, the Oak Ridge Boys and Travis Tritt.
Born and Raised in Wilmington, Delaware, Johnny Neel cut his first single at the age of twelve, as Johnny Neel and The Shapes Of Soul. As an adult, the Johnny Neel Band had a strong following up and down the East Coast and released two well-received independent albums. Neel moved to Nashville, the premiere song writing city, in 1984, where he immediately became recognized as an "A" session studio player. Others began to notice Neel’s songwriting talent and decided to take advantage by recording his songs on their albums.
Performing with various bands in area clubs drew the attention of former Nashville resident Dickey Betts, who asked Neel to join his road band, and begin working on Dickey's solo LP for Epic Records. That relationship led to seven cuts on the "Pattern Disruptive" LP including the Top 10 AOR hit, "Rock Bottom." Neel's talented keyboard and harp playing on that album convinced Gregg Allman to ask Neel to tour with his road band.
Neel decided to join the reunited Allman Brothers Band, immersing himself in a successful tour, which led to a number one AOR smash hit during the summer of 1990. Car radios all across America blasted "Good Clean Fun", from the Seven Turns Album, co-written by Neel with Allman and Betts. The chart topping hit provided the reunited Allmans with their highest charting single since "Ramblin' Man" fifteen years prior.
Following that tour, Neel released "Late Night Breakfast", which was recorded at his studio, Straight Up Sound Studio, with the members of his band, "The Last Word", and special guests such as Shane Theriot (The Neville Brothers), Rick Vito (Fleetwood Mac) and Wayne Jackson (The Memphis Horns). This record was released on Neel’s label, Breakin’ Records, which showcased his pleading vocals as well as brilliant piano, B-3 and harp work. During that same period of time the recordings were made, Neel also became a member of Blue Floyd, a premiere jam band with variations on the material of Pink Floyd. In addition to Neel, the band was comprised of Marc Ford (Black Crowes), Matt Abts (Gov't Mule), Berry Oakley, Jr. (OKB Band) and until his recent and unfortunate demise, Allen Woody (Gov't Mule). Neel and Abts then went into the Straight Up Sound Studio and recorded the X2 project which was graciously received by fans and the media.
More recently, some of Neel penned songs have been recorded by Travis Tritt, Montgomery Gentry and Delbert Mc Clinton. Neel is also excited about his latest release on Breakin’ Records titled Gun Metal Blue, which was release in April, 2004. As a man with boundless energy, Neel still manages to juggle studio work, local club gigs, road work and hit song writing, and somehow between the chaos maintains his sanity. “They say that you can’t do it all; Hell, I’m trying to prove ‘em wrong.” - Johnny Neel.