Royal Southern Brotherhood plays the Hepburn Center

Royal Southern Brotherhood are, from left, Yonrico Scott, Devon Allman, Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, and Charlie Wooten
Royal Southern Brotherhood are, from left, Yonrico Scott, Devon Allman, Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, and Charlie Wooten Richard Ecclestone

You can't really blame either the band or journalists for hyping the ancestry and roots of Royal Southern Brotherhood. For one thing, the name alone implies regal DNA and "brotherhood" is a pun on the group's connections to the Neville and Allman clans.

The thing is, Cyril Neville is such a damned distinctively great musician/vocalist/songwriter, listeners could ID him even if he was playing with the Vienna Boys Choir. As for Devon "Son of Gregg" Allman, well, yes, he's not directly associated with his father and Uncle Duane's band, but you can instantly hear the connection in his magical voice and guitar playing.

Throw the young guitar giant Mike Zito into the mix, along with the molten-groove rhythm section of drummer Yonrico Scott and bassist Charlie Wooton, and this is a dangerously powerful act.

Their self-titled debut album is slithering, swampy, funky Gulf Coast rock. In concert - as per Friday's show in the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center - the Royal Southern Brotherhood will twist your head and heart.

- RICK KOSTER

Royal Southern Brotherhood, 8 p.m. Friday, Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main St., Old Saybrook; The John Fries Band opens; $35, $40; (860) 510-0473, thekate.org.

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