Neal Francis exits his slam-dunk of a performance at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta. He walks off amidst the boisterous chanted appreciation from both new and existing fans. He may feel this at the time, he might not, but he has become the talk of the hour; which is no small feat at a festival featuring dozen of well-known artists. This shaggy-haired maestro has suddenly developed into a festival Favorite New Artist; so to speak. It is not by happenstance, Neal Francis has that “it” factor. Dressed like a star off of HBO‘s ’70s music-circuit series Vinyl, Francis on facade alone can suck fans into his vibe. On the strength of his groovy contagious musical prowess, he convinces you to stay. Pay attention, the man deserves undivided attention.
At some five minutes prior to performance at the Shaky Knees Festival, Neal and his band-mates can be found jokingly vocalizing to get amped up. “Angel dick, angel dick, angel dick, angel dick” is the harmony of choice, barbershop quartet is the style of choice. The time has come to blow some minds and generate some smiles. Neal is on his game, his band are on their game. Let the chips fall where they may.
With his upcoming LP, In Plain Sight, out November 5 on ATO Records, Neal Francis is set to follow in the fine rock lineage. In Plain Sight is brought to us as a silver-lining pandemic gift. Feeling trapped and secluded has its perks. Time to reflect, time to write, time to create.
States Francis, “For this record, I fell into my influences. The Who, Funkadelic, David Bowie and The Kinks, to name a few. New single ‘Prometheus’ also draws not only from these artists, but from movie ‘The Lighthouse.’ It became a running joke that the pandemic has forced us to live out this premise. Life imitating art.“
Hailing from Chicago, this former Eagle Scout formed a musical opinion from a young age. “I was lucky growing up. Musically, I had access to just about all of it. From classical to classic rock, from ragtime to soul, it was just all there to take in and appreciate. I wanted that for myself. I have no idea how I got to mold my sound, but I know all this insight plays a big part.”
So here we are, years and years removed from his upbringing; nonetheless, still infatuated with the music. Neal Francis is carving out that dream. The buzz is there, the tunes are infectious, the future looks bright.
Shaky Knees Festival did excellent by its patrons for bringing in to showcase this skillful up-and-comer, now it is up to his newer and older fans – us included – to follow through and support this talent when his sophomore record, In Plain Sight, drops in the near future; November 5th kind of near future.