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Ybor band to play with Cyril Neville to mark their 20th anniversary

Posted at 4:23 PM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-03 16:23:30-05

YBOR, Fla. — Bay area band, The Black Honkeys, mark their 20th anniversary this year.

As a present, they are getting the chance to perform with one of their idols, Cyril Neville, who will be flying in from New Orleans this weekend.

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Band members Phil Esposito and Gumbi Ortiz, of the Black Honkeys, have always believed Ybor City and the Big Easy are sort of kindred spirits.

“Walking down Bourbon Street or any of the streets there, it just has that Ybor flavor, or Ybor’s got that New Orleans flavor more likely,” said Esposito. “The heat, the mosquitoes, the swamp, the alligators.”

However, most importantly for them, it’s the music connection. For Esposito and Ortiz, they have always idolized Cyril Neville and the Neville Brothers

“(They) kind of created American funk music in the 50s and 60s, so they are kind of part of American royalty,” said Ortiz.

This Sunday, the band’s musical dreams will come true. They'll be sharing the same stage with Neville at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater.

“Being on stage with Cyril Neville will be for me like this ultimate validation. Five years ago we recorded one of his songs, never in a million years imagining we’d get to have Cyrille Neville come up,” said Esposito.

Before the show, the band will be releasing their newest music video, "Pumpin’." It features scenes from New Orleans and Ybor and a special guest appearance by Neville.

“And now we feel like we are part of the history of rock and roll, a little tiny bit, the marriage of New Orleans and Tampa,” said Esposito.

For more information on the show, click here.