New Orleans funk family The Neville Brothers play as part of the 2009 Strings Music Festival Different Tempo Series on Thursday and Friday at Strings Music Pavilion.
If you go
What: The Neville Brothers, funk
When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday
Where: Strings Music Pavilion, at Pine Grove Road and Mount Werner Drive
Listen: "Yellow Moon" by New Orleans family band The Neville Brothers is streaming at ExploreSteamboat.com.
Steamboat Springs When The Neville Brothers take the stage at Strings Music Pavilion on Thursday and Friday, there won't be any fancy light show or background dancers.
The performance will be a lot of funk, a little gospel and some of those sugary ballads Aaron Neville seems to love so well - it'll be "music that's played from the heart," saxophone player Charles Neville said.
"What we do is not putting on a show, it's presenting our heart and our spirits the way that they are. We do what we do the way that we do it, and we do it that way all the time," Neville said on the phone from his home in New Orleans.
The Neville family has used the Crescent City as a touch point for an eclectic brand of rhythm and blues music for more than 30 years - and much longer than that, if you count the brothers' solo projects.
Keyboardist Art is the oldest of the four, followed by Charles, Aaron and Cyril. In the years between starting their music careers and bringing them together with the first Neville Brothers release in 1978, the four musicians gathered a rich set of influences.
"That's kind of what makes what we do sound so unique, the fact that we have these different influences. And we have some common influence, too, and that's what makes it interesting and really different from anything else," Charles Neville said.
"I'm a jazz musician, and the way I play when I play with my jazz group, it's the same way I play with The Neville Brothers. Aaron sings the way he sings no matter where he is, and Art is more influenced by the funk and the doo-wop stuff. : When those things come together, the funk is there : and the fire of Cyril's soul-inspired performance makes the gumbo that is The Neville Brothers," he said.
The Nevilles grew up in a musical household, listening to gospel, early blues, traditional New Orleans and modern jazz, 1940s and '50s R&B, doo-wop, country and zydeco, Charles Neville said.
"We came through the different musical periods in America where the music was changing, and we picked up some influences from there," he said. The group drew from the 1970s soul movement to update its rhythm-and-blues roots, and took varied styles into account as the American musical consciousness became integrated, Neville said.
The end result is what Neville calls "dance music or movement music," a blend of funk, jazz, Latin, voodoo and New Orleans rhythms that keeps the beat up and the energy high.
"We grew up listening to music together, and we started playing together around the same time, and one of the things that I discovered about it is we've got this natural ability to blend our different ways of playing music," Neville said.
"We don't have to sit down and say, 'If we play this song you'll have to do this and I'll have to do that.' : It's kind of automatically planned, and I think that's one of the things that comes from us being from the same family."