Grammy Award-winning singer and R&B star Aaron Neville is bringing his unique voice and favorite yuletide tunes back to the region with a show at the Turlock Community Theatre.
Neville returns with his annual Christmas concert tour on Dec. 14. Neville performed the show last year at Modesto's Gallo Center for the Arts.
Since 1966, whether he has performed as a solo artist, with the Neville Brothers or paired with Linda Ronstadt, his music has reached many ears eager for his distinctive voice.
Neville has had four platinum-certified albums with hits such as "Tell It Like It Is" and "Everybody Plays the Fool," as well as "Don't Know Much" and "All My Life" with Ronstadt. The Ronstadt duets both won Grammy Awards.
Neville, speaking from his home in New York City, shared his thoughts on his music, his love for doo-wop and his faith.
Q: What's been the secret to your longevity and success?
A: God's been watching over me and taking care of me. I know that my talent, my success, it's not just me doing it.
I try, and he helps. My faith has been in everything I've done, and got me through some tough times, especially starting out.
Q: How so?
A: I didn't have a career yet in the '60s, and I still had to pay bills. So, I'd work odd jobs, like working on docks, painting houses. Man, I'd work down in ship holds, and I'd sing to myself just to sing.
Guys would hear me and tell me I had no business being on a ship, that I needed to get my singing career going. But I had to feed my family.
Q: Did you have a favorite odd job you liked that you wouldn't mind going back to?
A: I loved working on the riverfront. You'd do a different job every time. It was never boring, and it was on the water.
Q: So, if this singing thing doesn't work out, you can always fall back on that.
A: If this singing thing doesn't work out, I'm just going to retire.
Q: You show no signs of retiring yet, however. What can you share about your upcoming album, "My True Story," which debuts in January and features your take on some of your favorite tunes from the doo-wop era?
A: It's something I've wanted to do for a while. I've tried to put a doo-wop essence in all I've done for a while. You can hear it on different albums and songs here and there.
Doo-wop has really ruled my heart all these years, and this album is my take on a lot of classic doo-wop tunes.
Q: Why's that?
A: It's music that people can't just throw away. It's quality, not disposable or forgettable.
And the voices are haunting. "My True Story" is me paying homage to the genre, and also doing my heart a lot of good. I can remember where I was when I first heard many of the songs we cover on the album. It's a real trip down memory lane, and it was a lot of fun to do an album produced by Keith Richards.
Q: How have you seen the music industry change over the years?
A: Auto-Tune has been a big change in the industry. Great singers use it, and I don't know why.
The industry, especially shows like "American Idol," want you to be pristine and pitch-perfect on notes. But we're human; we're not supposed to be perfect. That's what you call soul, when you're bending the notes a little.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14
WHERE: Turlock Community Theatre, 1574 E. Canal Drive
CALL: (209) 668-1169