Buckeye Music Magazine
Covering the Music Scene in the Buckeye State

Johnny Neel Joins the Big Damn Big Jam
at Canal Street Tavern
by Jimmy Cummings
Johnny Neel at Canal Street 

The legendary Johnny Neel invaded Canal Street Tavern Sunday night to join Norm Dimitrouleas and the Big Damn Jam. A member of bands like the Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule, and Blue Floyd, Johnny Neel has been entertaining audiences for decades. So when I heard he was coming to Canal Street, I was more than excited to take the trip up I-75. Johnny was scheduled to perform a solo set as well as take part in the Big Damn Jam and we were lucky enough to get there early enough to catch Johnny’s sound check. Usually during the sound check people are at the bar catching up with friends; not when Johnny Neel does a sound check. Everyone in the tavern stopped what they were doing and listened intently as Johnny got the sound just right.

Opening up the show was a group from Dayton called New Vega; the band brought their brand of Progressive Rock to Canal Street for the first time. If the guys were nervous to open for a legend it didn’t show. New Vega offered the crowd a variety of original songs from their upcoming debut album “Tempo” set to be released in late July. The band, (Chance Cambell, Alex Rundle, Adam Sabin, and Zach Sabin) also did a cover of Radiohead’s hit “Go to Sleep” that got the bar buzzing. New Vega is more than capable to open up for anyone and the guys are well on their way to becoming a fan favorite. We will keep you posted on the release of New Vega’s debut CD and upcoming shows in your area. In the mean time you can catch New Vega at the Southwind Music Festival Friday, June 3rd.
New Vega    New Vega
When Norm escorted Johnny Neel to the stage, everyone in attendance was on their feet in anticipation of what was to come. Johnny is an Emmy nominated musician so he knows how to work a crowd. Once the Keyboard player for the Allman Brothers Band, Johnny Neel combines his musical and songwriting talents with a soulful voice that is easy to listen to and keeps you wanting more. In addition to his solo act, Johnny has released two albums with his band called Johnny Neel and the Criminal Element Vol. 1&2. Johnny’s solo performance included classics like My Kind of People and a song written by Neel and his wife called Gift of Song. But Johnny was just getting warmed up.
Johnny Neel at Canal Street  
After a short break, it was time for the real fun to begin. Johnny Neel returned to the stage with some of the Miami Valley’s best musicians for a jam session that can only be described as incredible. The Werks Norman Dimitrouleas brought together talent from local band favorites like Magic Jackson, Oh Kee Pah (the Phish tribute band), Romeo Champagne, and the Tony Red Band. First on stage with Johnny was Magic Jackson’s Guitar player John Gentry Jr. and Drummer Rob Brockman, and Oh Kee Pah’s Bassist Dino Dimitrouleas (also Norm’s brother). With so much talent on one stage, I knew we were in for something special; little did I know this was only the beginning. After performing as a quintet, Saxophonist Danny Sauers of Romeo Champagne joined the fun and took center stage. Danny’s sax never sounded so good and it blended well with the bluesy voice of Neel and the precision of Gentry. Along with Dino and Rob, the group blew me away. Canal Street was rocking as the Big Damn Jam was turning into a very memorable night. One of the highlights of the evening was when Johnny and the rest of the guys performed the Allman Brothers’ Whipping Post with Neel on vocals.
Johnny Neel at Canal Street   The Big Damn Big Jam
When the time came for Johnny to take a well deserving break, Norm took over the Keyboards and the transition was flawless. Replacing Dino on stage was Norm’s band mate special guest Bassist Chuckie Love and replacing John Gentry Jr. on Guitar was  Brooks Daughtery with Tony Herdman taking the stage on vocals. Tony and Norm performed the song  "Carry Me Back Home"  which was written by Norm. A high point in the set was a duet with Tony and Chuckie singing " She Sucked it Well" ; a song written by Love, always a crowd favorite.. Chuckie also requested that Gentry return to the stage for the song. Tony turned the microphone over to Melissa Young of Dayton’s own Miss Lisa & Company. Melissa has an awesome with amazing range, so with the return of Danny Sauer and the addition of Miss Lisa & Company’s Guitar player Eric Henry the music took on a new dimension and complexity. There were so many special moments I am sure I failed to mention one or two. So I would like to thank everyone who took part in the Big Damn Jam. Thanks to Norm for assembling a mix of the area’s finest musicians and also thanks to New Vega for a great show. A BIG thank you to Johnny Neel for making this one of the most enjoyable nights of music I have ever had at Canal Street. Speaking of Canal Street, thank you for providing fans with a great venue, you guys make us feel welcome every time we walk through the door.
Norm and Johnny 
John Gentry Jr.   
Chuckie Love of the Werks Melissa Young of Lisa and Company Danny Sauers of Romeo Champagne
Video Thumb

Johnny Neel My Kind Of People 5-15-2010 [HQ]

The Big Damm Jam
Canal Street Tavern
Dayton , Ohio
Taped By Chubby
Contact Information
Chubby Howard: chubby@buckeyemusicmagazine.com
Jimmy Cummings: jimmy@buckeyemusicmagazine.com
Kim Howard: kim@buckeyemusicmagazine.com
Lisa Cummings: lisa@buckeyemusicmagazine.com
© All photos, videos, and content by Chubby Howard, Jimmy Cummings, Kim Howard, Lisa Cummings, and Buckeye Music Magazine unless noted
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