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Live Soulfully: Neal Evans on his family affairs, solo work, and playing keys all night

by Travis Carpenter

Neal Evans, keyboard player for the trio Soulive as well as the funk band Lettuce, has also co-founded Royal Family Records with other musicians he's met during his many years as a performer. He spoke with Angelica Music about his recent past and exciting future in Vermont. After hosting the successful first ever Royal Family Affair festival in Stratton, Evans looks forward to upcoming shows at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vermont, where both Lettuce and Soulive will play multiple nights.

Royal Family Affair Festival

How did the Royal Family Affair in Vermont go?

It was incredible. I must say, to put on a festival for the first time, there was a great turnout, a great few days of music; the workshops that we did, being up at Stratton, Vermont. We're excited to continue.

So you had more than just performances?

Yeah, one thing that we started is what we call the Royal Family Academy, which basically is workshops throughout the festival. I did one on songwriting, Eric Krasno did a guitar workshop, my brother Alan did a workshop on recording and engineering, John Medeski did a workshop, Skerik did one, Adam Dietch did one on drumming… It's something that we're planning on continuing at our festival and at other festivals throughout the country. It was a pretty great thing.

Neal Evans | Soulive

What were the most surprising performances at the Affair?

There were so many great bands. Chromeo was there. Our friends the London Souls were there. A great band that's kind of emerging out of Brooklyn, Caveman, was there. Lettuce and Soulive had great shows, but really, one of the highlights was the last performance, the Royal Family All-Star jam, and that was really cool, you know; these performances that are kind of off the cuff. There were members of Dumpstaphunk, Karl Denson was there, and everyone getting on stage at the end was a huge highlight of the festival.

What's Soulive doing right now?

We're gearing up for the Royal Family Ball that we're putting on. Those will be shows with Lettuce and Soulive, and maybe Break Science as well. Those are the next run of shows that we're getting ready for throughout the fall. It's extra work, you know, Kras and I have double duty that night, playing with Lettuce and Soulive, but it will be an awesome show.


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