Click to find the album on your favorite streaming service: 20-22
The Robert Neil Network is a studio band that features top-tier musicians from some of the most influential music hubs around the country, including Nashville, Alabama, Seattle and Southern California.
The group was remotely assembled during the pandemic by songwriter Robert Neil and producer Scott McDavid to record Robert Neil’s songs.
The album’s sound is a unique blend of pop, rock, jazz, classical and soul, and the commonality is the quality of musicianship. “Scott and I recruited some of the best musicians we could find for the project,” Robert Neil said. “I truly believe we have as much talent on this album as anything in the top 10 — Anything!”
McDavid is currently living in San Diego, but he was born and raised in Alabama, where he played clubs and parties as a young musician and learned his craft. He’s been in a number of bands along his journey, including KD Ryzer and Split the Dark, the latter of which won decidedly won the 1986 MTV “Basement Tapes” contest.
Higher profile gigs came in the Elmo Hooten Trio and then the Eric Essix Band. McDavid is featured on Essix’s 1990 album ‘Second Thought,’ which included McDavid’s original composition “Margaret Street.”
Robert Neil and McDavid begin collaborating
McDavid has also had a strong career scoring documentaries and short films, including 2016’s ‘The Highway,’ which won Best Original Score at the LA Shorts Awards.
That was the same year McDavid and Robert Neil met and soon after began collaborating. Robert Neil was a very successful business journalist who had been writing songs for about 20 years – without ever publishing any of them. The musical connection between the two men was strong, and their first song, “The Lady in Black (Just Let Me Dance),” was released in 2017, with McDavid singing and producing Robert Neil’s composition.
Their second outing was the song “You Can’t Touch Me Now,” which McDavid included on his 2019 solo album ‘Love One Another.’ (A new recording of the song appears on ‘2022.’)
Robert Neil, who resides is Seattle, studied classical piano and flute as a child, and he currently writes on guitar and piano, but as far as performing goes, he’s more comfortable staying somewhat in the background as a writer and producer. “Let the professionals play my songs; they’ll sound much better” he jokingly says.
However, he is in front of the mic for the podcast ‘Robert Neil Speaks with…,’ which features conversations with known and unknown artists about indie music, jazz and music history [960s, 70s and 80s.] Robert Neil also produced the previous podcast ‘Documenting Popular Music,’ which inlcuded guest such as guitarist Doug Jackson (Ambrosia), singer Debbie Boone, jazz singer Sarah Partridge, jazz musician Ron Aprea, singer/songwriter Rusty Young (Poco) and producer Norbert Putnam (bassist for Elvis; producer for Dan Fogelberg, Joan Baez, etc.).
Other members of The Robert Neil Network include:
Abby London – singer/songwriter/pianist – Abby already has a following in the Pacific Northwest and Robert Neil predicts “she’s going to be a star. Her voice is amazing and different.” abbylondonmusic.com
George Vinson – musician/songwriter/producer – George is an established Nashville performer who’s in demand for session work as well as writing and recording original works. georgevinson.com
Ron Hembly – vocalist – Ron is another Nashville musician with a strong following. Until the pandemic hit, he was a regular on the club circuit and he who also performs session work.
Randy Hunter – guitar/vocalist – Randy is a veteran musician in Birmingham, anxious to get back to live performing.
Members of The Tuscaloosa Horns: Trumpet: Mart Avant; Tenor sax: Kim Bain; Trombone: Chad Fisher, under the direction of Tony Wachter – These are members of the famed horn section that have played on numerous Motown hits over the years. They were brought in to play on a cover version of “Get Ready,” made famous by The Temptations. tuscaloosahorns.com/home