Ask any blues music fan in New York City who their favourite guitar player is and you’ll probably end up with three names, one of which will be Arthur Neilson. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Arthur is a self taught guitarist having first learned to play a Teisco Del Ray at the age of fifteen. After spending hours upon hours practicing, Arthur heard Albert King and has been hooked on the blues ever since.
In the early 1970’s, Arthur responded to an advert in New Yorks Village Voice seeking a blues guitarist. This was the opportunity that propelled him into New York’s burgeoning blues scene and giving him the chance to support the likes of Victoria Spivey, James Cotton and Hubert Sumlin.
By 1979, Arthur had caught the attention of a band called Blue Velvet whose lead singer was Cyndi Lauper.
They recorded an album on the Polydor label which garnered much critical acclaim. Throughout the 80’s, Arthur Neilson was very much in demand, playing gigs around New
York City clubs including Dan Lynch Blues Bar, Lone Star Cafe, Manny’s Car Wash and Tramps. It led to him sharing the stage with many big names including, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Roy Buchanan, Danny Gatton, and Albert King.
Albert King upon hearing Arthur Neilson said ‘That boy sure can play!’
Since 1998, Arthur has been a mainstay of Shemekia Copeland’s band. Constantly touring the US and Europe. On the rare occasion he has time off from his touring commitments, you will find Arthur playing guitar at any number of New York’s jams and clubs either supporting other musicians or playing solo.
Popa Chubby once said, ‘There is only one guitarist I bow down to and that’s Arthur Neilson’.
Any opportunity you have of seeing either Shemekia Copeland or Arthur Neilson in concert, then do yourself a favour and go. He’s a tremendous player and a great guy too.