Neil Cavanagh
Gig Seeker Pro

Neil Cavanagh

| Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Established on Jan, 2015
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Neil Cavanagh @ CMJ '08: Alphabet Lounge

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Neil Cavanagh @ Air Conditioned

Santa Monica, California, USA

Santa Monica, California, USA

Neil Cavanagh @ Pisces Cafe

Babylon, New York, USA

Babylon, New York, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Sunday May 29th, 8pm
at the Pisces Cafe, Babylon

by M. E. Anders (Aural Fix, July 2005)

FAREWELL LONG ISLAND SHOW - marathon performance in the style of the early shows, bringing back the electric guitar, synthesizer, bass drum, other surprises and guests.

An art enthusiast tries to find something eternal in that snapshot of time captured in the medium of their delight. Whether staring deeply into vague images of Monet, floating hypnotically on zephyrs of Mozart, or fighting mythical battles of Homer, the enthusiast is able to, if only for a short time, slip the fetters of cruel reality and run naked in that terrifying savage and exhilarating realm of the imagination.

Recently the patrons of Pisces Cafe were lucky enough to experience one of those transcendental performances from the mercurial talent Neil Cavanagh. Dubbed "The Suitcase in Hand" performance portending his eminent departure for California, Cavanagh sang played and entertained like it was his last day on Earth and not just his penultimate performance in New York.

With a seemingly hand picked audience of family, friends, and adoring fans, the tiny cafe played host to a two way love fest until the wee hours of the next morning. The overwhelming consensus: a Neil Cavanagh performance of any length (he played over five hours with nary a break) was way too short.

The set list was virtually irrelevant as Cavanagh tore and twisted even well known standards like "Will the Circle Be Broken" into soulful meandering Cavanaghesque creations that would be hard to describe as anything but original. In between actual originals like a stirring version of his mesmerizing signature "Forgiveness" and a wistful rendition of "Our Day Will Come" the set was peppered with comic 'sampling of Yes and Zeppelin (to lampoon falsetto and that Plant moan yell respectively.)

The evening was loose and fun and Neil kept the crowd in his vice-like grip even when his understated vocals weren't the only voice heard in the room. One instance was when Neil shredded his guitar as Mark Loebl barked out "Forty Thousand Headman" in a spontaneous collaboration that can only happen in such intimate confines as Pisces (Mark in his front row seat was as close to the mic as Neil on stage.)

Neil ended his marathon gig with an inspired and beautifully poetic take on "Can't Find My Way Home." From the fans who donned superman "S"s in homage to Cavanagh's heroic center-stage get up to the pedestrian patrons whose serendipitous craving for a Pisces espresso shake made them privy to a performance non-par, everyone quietly prayed to the music gods that Neil find a peaceful wonderful place to reside in California but he should always find his way home to New York and such incredible shows.

Neil Cavanagh, if you ever need directions just ask. We'll light the beacon. And please, superman, don't ever embarrass yourself by wearing "NC" on your chest while you practice your guitar.

- Aural Fix Magazine

Thirteen Seven Ways of Looking at Neil Cavanagh[1]:

I. A man and a guitar
Are one.
A man and a guitar and Neil Cavanagh
Are one.

II. I’m not sure which I like more,
The beauty of what is
Or what might be -
Neil Cavanagh’s song or
Neil Cavanagh playing a song.

III. Someone’s playing Jeff Buckley.
No, it’s Neil Cavanagh.
No, it’s the score to a real cool movie.

IV. He once mistook the quiet of the room
After a conversation as an improvisation
By Neil Cavanagh.

V. People are getting together at The Pisces cafe.
Neil Cavanagh must be coming to town.

VI. O, commuters of Babylon
Why do you imagine retirement
When Neil Cavanagh is an earphone away?

VII. Neil Cavanagh hit the note.
He was a big part of everybody
Hitting a note everywhere.

[1] This piece is inspired by Wallace Stevens’ ubiquitous poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”
- LI Pulse


Short Flight to a Distant Star (Street Date: September 11, 2007)



NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES - A new pop genius is unveiled on Short Flight to a Distant Star, the new album by singer/songwriter Neil Cavanagh. Fourteen cuts of pure sonic bliss that recall the greats while forging forward with a fresh new sound. Neil's dream inducing arrangements are built around his captivating tenor, his 12-string acoustic, and a memorable set of songs. The simple acoustic introduction of the album's opener, "Time to Sleep" melts into a majestic arrangement of layered vocals and guitars that hint at the creative depth and playful eccentricities that are to come on this most eclectic and most rewarding project.The songs that follow, "Our Day Will Come" and "The Spirit of '76" are stunning, hit-worthy tunes that outline the beginning of what is a complete album – with start, middle, and end – and many peaks and surprises along the way.The prodigious Cavanagh was raised in Queens and Long Island, and his first radio airplay came with a local rock band at age 13. Later, he went to NYU to study classical music composition, then to Boston to learn film scoring at Berklee College of Music. While in college, he took bass lessons from session legend Jerry Jemmott (Aretha Franklin, B.B. King), studying the tabla with Pandit Ramsamooj, and sat in with bands on piano or drums.Following college, Neil returned to New York where his chops and diverse musical vocabulary led him into a variety of situations, including sessions at The Hit Factory with pop legend Michael Jackson.Neil quickly developed a reputation for wildly eclectic shows that blended beautiful acoustic songs with offbeat arrangements and hypnotic improvisations. He often appeared solo with a bass drum at his right foot and a guitar loop pedal with which he'd create devastating, virtuosic textures and punctuate the deep, funky rhythms of his live act. Cavanagh began Short Flight two years ago, which doesn't seem so long when you consider that he did most of it on his own. Neil played all of the instruments (vocals, guitar, bass, keys, drums, harmonica, etc.), he handled all of the production and most of the engineering, and he wrote and arranged all but one song ("The Kiss" by the late Judee Sill, a haunting, classically inspired folk singer from the 70's). The recording began at The Hit Factory in New York, and was completed in Los Angeles (where Neil now resides).

While he may have worn nearly all of the hats on the production and performance, creativity and impeccable musicianship abound. Neil's singing and acoustic guitar work shine throughout. Also revealed here in its full flower is a monster electric guitarist whose effortless leads serve the songs perfectly. Ethereal slide atmospherics, cascading counterpoint lines, and some Hendrix worthy pyrotechnics complement the tasty arrangements and huge hooks.

Neil is not at all afraid to reference solo Paul McCartney - so much so that he wears a McCartney t-shirt on the inside jacket. Many songs on Short Flight explore the sonic territory of McCartney's first two solo albums (McCartney and Ram), when the music was folksy but not folkie, singable but not (yet) saccharine, with basslines almost as memorable as the melodies, and melodies that stay with you for a real long time.

Elliott Smith, who also wore his Beatle obsession on his sleeve, is another major influence over this music, as is fellow late brooder Jeff Buckley (and Jeff's folkie father, Tim Buckley, too for good measure).

But it's the light that shines through the darkness that makes Short Flight to a Distant Star so special. An album about transitions, much is made of sleep, death, and parting; a fair amount of time is also spent on awakenings, new love, even the achievement of world peace. Instrumental transitions link the album's different moods, themselves offering a meditative state of consciousness: a float through space, a bit of time travel, even a good ol' fashioned acid trip.

In the true spirit of classic rock and folk that inspired Short Flight, there's much here for the listener to dissect and analyze lyrically and conceptually. The album's title is both uplifting and bittersweet in sentiment, and the songs themselves could have a variety of meanings, all depending upon the listener's point-of-view.

However interpreted, one thing is for sure - this is a Short Flight that we will want to take again and again.

Neil Cavanagh's Short Flight To A Distant Star is being released on September 11, 2007 through the Kindred Rhythm Music Group (KRMG), an eclectic Manhattan based label group that released vocalist Roberta Gambarini's Grammy Nominated debut album, and jazz legend Jack DeJohnette's first new age project (which was also Grammy Nominated). KRMG will distribute the project to all of the major digital retailers, and to traditional retail through its agreement with Koch Entertainment Distribution.