“Alameda Apartments” by Neal Francis is Keith’s DJ Pick of the Week! Neal Francis is a Chicago-based alternative-funk artist described as “the reincarnation of Allen Toussaint.” Francis draws his musical inspiration from the beats of New Orleans, the blues of Chicago and the Rock N’ Roll of the 1970s. During his younger days in Chicago, he played under his full name, Neal Francis O’Hara, but eventually shortened it down to Neal Francis. Last year, Francis played the BMI stage at Lollapalooza and opened for Grammy-nominated band Black Pumas.
“Alameda Apartments” is the opening track on Francis’ 2021 sophomore album In Plain Sight. This Elton John-esque song showcases Francis’ piano mastery and includes a plethora of different instruments. The complexity of the instrumentation in the song makes it feel whole. “Alameda Apartments” is teeming with harpsichord, which may sound out of place in other modern alternative songs, but not this one. It’s a piece of great grandeur, accentuated by the harpsichord and expert piano riffs, that makes you feel alive, despite it’s darker meaning. Francis explains that the song is based on a nightmare he had six years prior to being sober. “I was going through another breakup and getting kicked out of my place,” says Francis. “I had a nightmare about moving into an art-deco apartment that was haunted, where the walls were all shifting around.”
Earlier this week, Neal Francis opened for Amos Lee two nights in a row at Ryman Auditorium. As of now, there are no upcoming dates for opening shows in Nashville. Until there are, make sure to keep up with Neal Francis through his Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, feel free to check out the official music video for “Alameda Apartments” below!