The Neal Lucas Band
The Neal Lucas Band (NLB), a power trio following in the footsteps of bands such as Cream and Gov’t Mule, has a unique sound that fuses blues and rock in a soulful manner. The band, consisting of guitarist Neal Lucas, bassist Evan Collins and drummer Steven Thompson, is a dynamic force in the West Georgia music scene. They have been named “The best band Columbus has heard in years.” In January 2012, the band opened for B. B. King. They have also shared the bill with Bad Company, Foghat, Little River Band, and Travis Tritt.
Neal Lucas has been playing guitar professionally since the age of 14. A graduate of the Atlanta Institute of Music, Neal became a fixture on the Atlanta and Nashville music scenes. In addition to Nashville session work, he shared the stage with a variety of artists, including the Charlie Daniels Band and Jimmy Hall. He toured overseas with country music singer Jodi Smith. Neal relocated to the Columbus, Georgia area in 2004 and with Evan Collins formed NLB in 2006. Neal works as a session guitarist for The Loft Studios in Columbus and is endorsed by Dean Markley Strings.
Evan Collins began playing bass in the 7th grade. Encouraged by the bassist at church, Evan was exposed to a variety of musical styles – R & B, soul, rock, jazz – that captured his imagination and motivated him to excel. After attending seminary in Denmark, Evan graduated from the Atlanta Institute of Music before settling in Columbus, Georgia. He met up with Neal Lucas while both were playing with various bands around town.
After forming the band, Neal and Evan began honing their distinctive sound while alternating between drummers until meeting Steven Thompson in 2008. Steven was introduced to music at the age of 6, starting with the violin, then moving to the saxophone until a junior high band director convinced him to switch to the drums. He was the Drum Major in high school and eventually played for the United States Army Band before meeting Evan and Neal. According to Neal, once Steven joined the group. “the Neal Lucas Band BECAME a band!” In 2011 the trio released their first CD, “Hold it up High”, recorded live during a three hour show at The Loft in Columbus.
In January of 2012, the band added two dynamic players to its musical arsenal. Charles Robinson is a seasoned saxophone player that brings a rich, soulful sound to the NLB. He toured with the late Marvin Sease, who was so impressed with his talent that he affectionately gave him the nick name “Big Saxy”. During this time Charles shared the stage with the likes of Bobby Blue Bland and Mel Waiters. Jerald Dorsett brings the “gospel” to the group whether he’s on keyboards or the Hammond B3. With this versatility, the Neal Lucas Band can be a compact powerhouse or a 5 piece explosion!
(Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals)
Influences: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Herring, Eric Johnson, John Coltrain, Miles Davis, Jimmi Hendrix, Brent Mason, Steve Morse, Otis Redding, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King
Neal Lucas began playing guitar professionally at age fourteen, performing with various bands alongside his father. By age eighteen he was on stage with his own band playing in nightclubs and at private parties. In 1997 Neal graduated from the guitar program at the Atlanta Institute of Music and worked in the Atlanta music industry for a year.
In 1998 Neal moved to Nashville, Tennessee. He worked in the Nashville area doing session work and performing with various professional acts until early 2000. From 2000 until 2003 he was employed by a church in Columbus, Georgia. During this time his duties included everything from teaching young children guitar lessons to preparing Easter and Christmas shows. In May 2004 Neal went with singer/songwriter, Sabra, on a month long tour of the southern states (Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia) performing in coffeehouses, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Later in the year he was hired by country music artist, Jodi Smith, to do a tour of the Middle Eastern countries. They performed at U.S. military bases in Kuwait, Iraq, Dubai, Djibouti, and the United Arab Emirates. In October 2004 Neal settled in the Columbus, Georgia region. He was a session guitarist for The Loft Studios in downtown Columbus for over a year, and was also recently endorsed by Dean Markley Strings. Neal has been working in the Columbus area doing various musical jobs, including teaching guitar lessons, and performing at restaurants, nightclubs, private parties, weddings, festivals, and corporate events. His band has also recently opened for The Little River Band, and Brian Howe of Bad Company.
A compilation album entitled “Ten Songs From The Edge of Georgia” will feature Neal’s original tune, “Smoke House”. Neal is touring with the Jonathan and Lisa band as well as worked with producer, Don McCollister , of Nickel & Dime Studios, on their project “Roots”. He has been traveling for the past several years and has played all over the country. He has recently performed in Atlanta, Athens, Albany and Savannah, Georgia as well as Columbus, Mississippi; Montgomery, Alabama; New Mexico, New Jersey, Panama City Beach, Florida, and more. Neal has also branched into production work with Dean Castile of Document Studios, and is currently working on his own album, which will be released at the end of the year. Although Neal experimented with various genres of music, he came full circle back to his roots with an enhanced playing style that gives him his bluesy rock tone.
Influences: Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd, Derek Henderson, Chick Corea, B.B. King, Ron Walters, Jr., James Brown
Steven Thompson, Sr. was introduced to music at the age of six. From a very early age his parents knew that music would be a very big part of his life. Steven comes from a family of musicians. After a brief stint on the violin, Steven found his home with the Saxophone. Playing in various school and church bands, Steven got the opportunity to conduct the South Shore Philharmonic Orchestra of Chicago Illinois at the age of 11.
While in Jr High, Steven took on another musical adventure when his band director asked him to play Drums for the male and female chorus. By this time he was hooked on drumming. He would further lead his High School band as Drum Major and later play for the United States Army band.
Steven is the drummer in the Neal Lucas Band. He has mixed his formal training with his sheer passion for music to create the soulful sounds expressed on his drums.
Evan Collins, born November 1st, 1982 in Rock Hill, South Carolina, was introduced to his first bass guitar while in 7th grade at McCants Middle School in Anderson, South Carolina. It was at this time that he would grow to love the instrument, along with all of the sonic possibilities it holds.
Although he was eager to learn, it was a work in progress, to say the very least. Thanks to the help from a bassist in his father’s church, Evan grew a strong appreciation for soul, r&b, jazz, and classic rock, which motivated him to excel on the instrument, as well as in music.
He was heavily influenced by players such as James Jamerson, Abraham Laboriel, Paul McCartney, Rocco Prestia, Ray Brown, and Sting.
In July of 2000, Evan’s father and mother, Rev Richard and Jane Collins, were brought to Columbus, Georgia where they became pastors of a church, Evangel Temple Assembly of God, and where Evan really began to cultivate his gift of having an improvisational ear for maneuvering through different forms and styles of music. In 2002, Evan moved to seminary in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he was given the opportunity to travel all throughout Western Europe and share his gift in music with people, from all walks of life and all parts of the world, along the way. At the end of his study in Denmark, Evan applied to a school he had wanted to attend since reading an article about it in 1997, the Atlanta Institute of Music, where he was taught the in’s and out’s of becoming a working musician.
He graduated AIM in 2004, and moved back to Columbus, Georgia where he began teaching students privately and developing relationships with local musicians. It was at this time that he met guitarist Neal Lucas, when they were each asked to play for a church’s music service. It was then that they grew to appreciate each others’ musical abilities and common interests. After that night they kept in touch and performed together whenever the opportunity arose.
Starting out as a duet, they often borrowed available drummers to join in for gigs, which left them feeling incomplete and in constant search of someone who would fill the role permanently. It was when Evan met Steven Thompson as a bass guitar student, at Gorilla Guitars, that the search for the permanent drummer would be completed. Steven is a multi-instramentalist and a magnificent, musical drummer, whose gift seemed to be the glue that would hold the band’s music together in a whole new way. After several years of working on their unified sound and original material, they were finally established as the Neal Lucas Band (NLB), and the guys continue to dedicate themselves to their craft and work tirelessly to break through the boundaries set before them.
Jerald Dorsett is a Talbot County, Georgia native. Brought up in the church, Jerald brings the “Gospel” to the group whenever he’s on the Hammond B3 or keys. Jerald performed on the Gladys Knight CD “Many Different Roads” and the Old School Players CD “Trunk Funk Flava”.
Beginning his journey as a saxophonist at the early age of ten, Charles Robinson was introduced to Jazz, Bebop, Salsa, and Bossa Nova by his first music teacher. As a teenager Charles was already a standout working musician in the Atlanta area. In his high school years he spent his summers on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, only allowed on the adult scene because he had a sax case in his hand. Charles took full advantage of the opportunity to learn from so many great players that came from all walks of life. These were defining times for Charles as he worked his chops and developed his smooth and sweet sound.
While living in Atlanta, Charles began working at Salem Bible Church under pastor Jasper Williams. There he learned soul inspired music and gained invaluable experience playing with artists such as Dottie Peoples, Jesse Jackson and many other Atlanta natives. In 2004, Charles made his move to Columbus, Georgia to continue making his way as a professional saxophone player. Charles immersed himself in the Columbus music scene meeting and playing with the areas best musicians. Becoming a mainstay in the south Georgia musical circles, in 2006 Charles embarked on a tour with R&B singer Calvin Richardson. While on the road he was presented an opportunity to play for the late Marvin Sease. Charles spent the next year and a half on tour with Marvin continuing to learn and grow relationships. Charles’ talent so impressed Mr. Sease that he affectionately coined the nick name “Big Saxy”. During this tour Charles had the honor of sharing the stage with the likes of Shirley Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Cleotis Wright, Mel Waiters , Sir Charles Jones and many more.
After Marvin’s passing Charles turned his attention to his own music. Charles’ music is a culmination of all of his influences from people to places. The soon to be released album is titled Inchworm which represents Charles’ inch by inch movement in his musical career where he has traveled farther than he or anyone else ever thought he would go.