Music: The Birdmen take wing Thurs., Aug. 29, at Best Video

The Birdmen play Best Video Performance Space Thursday, Sept. 29. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The Birdmen are Johnny Java (bass), John Lindberg (electric guitar), Johnny Memphis (vocals/guitar/fiddle), and Richard Neal (vocals/guitar/mandolin/banjo). All four are longtime musical collaborators of James Velvet, a beloved figure on the New Haven music scene who passed away April, 2015. And—as if this isn’t enough—New Haven fixture on the drums Tom Smith has joined forces with the group, adding another dimension to their sound. They perform music written by Velvet as well as original songs by Neal.

With the release of a CD of original compositions entitled “HOE” in 2001, Richard Neal emerged from the shadows of being a sideman to becoming an artist in his own right.

Another CD of original material entitled “Beacon” followed a few years later, and in 2016 he released “A Step Up”, produced in collaboration with Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step.

Now, in addition to performing solo, he has recruited long-time running mates the Birdmen to accompany him at shows. They are featuring titles from Richard’s next collection of songs, which he plans to release in the spring of 2018.

“an ingenious and nuanced songwriter”–Cygnusradio.com

“A fresh new talent in the contemporary acoustic , Americana, and folk music genres…you’ll hear subtle influences in Richard’s singing and songwriting including dashes of Randy Newman, David Bromberg, and various members of the Band.”–Rex Fowler