Blues Foundation gala is Thursday: Neal to be honored _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Blues musician Lil' Ray Neal hopes to perform more often in his home state, Louisiana.

The 2015 Baton Rouge Blues Foundation gala will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library on Goodwood Blvd. The foundation will present its inaugural Red Stick Blues Award to Lil’ Ray Neal, a singer-guitarist who’s a member of Baton Rouge’s Neal family of musicians.

The Stick Blues Award award recognizes outstanding Baton Rouge Blues musicians. Neal, after years of being a supporting player to classic blues artists B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Bobby Rush and Bobby “Blue” Bland, recently began emphasizing his work as a front man.

This year’s Blues Foundation gala will also feature a tribute to King, including a display of one of the late blues star’s Lucille guitars and a performance by Neal. Baton Rouge blues singer-pianist Henry Gray will play before the award ceremony. General admission is $35.