Playing this summer: Melissa Neels
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Melissa Neels grew up in south St. Louis County, listening to the classic rock and blues music - Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, Cream, etc.) -- her mother played around the house. She started guitar lessons at an early age, drifted away from the instrument, then returned to learning guitar when she reached seventh grade. Neels has been playing guitar and singing ever since, and has been playing professionally for the past dozen-plus years – building a reputation as one of the most talented performers on the St. Louis music scene.
Melissa's influences range from those classic rock and blues icons she heard on the radio growing up to contemporary blues artists such as Susan Tedeschi and Joanna Connor. But her most profound influence is Bonnie Raitt, whom she met in person several times.
Over the years, Neels and her band have opened for such artists as Little Milton, Ike Turner and Chuck Berry and have been a fixture at area music festivals and clubs. Her debut recording, “Shine,” features an eclectic mix of all original songs by Neels that also showcases her fine vocals and powerhouse guitar work.
Here’s some more background on this talented musical artist – provided by Melissa herself…
HOME: St. Louis
AGE: In my 30s. A woman never tells her real age, ha ha!!
INSTRUMENTS: I'm a lead guitarist, lead singer and songwriter.
HOBBIES: Playing tennis, going to the gym, going to my parents’ house at The Lake of the Ozarks to swim, get a little sun, fish, play some golf … and just relax and write songs.
LAST CONCERT: Bonnie Raitt at The Pageant, May 18, (No, I didn't get to meet her this time.) :(
LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: I only need to write a few more songs, so I can start recording my second all original CD.
WHY I DO WHAT I DO: When I was in high school I met Bonnie Raitt two years in a row, backstage, with my mom. That changed my life; and from then on all I wanted to do was learn how to play the guitar and be a singer/musician. Playing music is a part of who I am, it will always be in my soul.
QUOTE: I’ll always remember something my Grandma Norma told me a long time ago when she used to listen to me practice in my parent's basement. I told her not to come down because it was too loud. She said, "If it's TOO LOUD, then you're TOO OLD."
Melissa Neels will be at the St. Louis Square Park at 7 p.m. June 18. For more info on Neels, and her performance schedule, go to www.melissaneels.net.
South St. Louis Square Park Concert Series
The South St. Louis Square Park series is sponsored by the Carondelet Community Betterment Federation. The organization also presents a Sunday concert series in Carondelet Park that runs through August, as well as Monday concerts at Fanetti Park, and at Bellerive Park in July.
South St. Louis Square Park is at 7700 South Broadway at the intersection of Courtois Street. Access the park from I-55 at the Loughborough exit, go east on Loughborough to Broadway, then south to Courtois. The concert begins at 7 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m. Lawn chairs are advised; there is a playground for kids nearby and you may bring coolers. This is the final summer concert at this park.