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Ring in New Year’s with a case of the blues

Brooklyn Daily

Prospect Heights resident Arthur Neilson has a bad case of the blues.

The legendary guitarist is so hooked on the soulful music that he’s taking a break from touring with Grammy-nominated singer Shemekia Copeland to jam with the Black Coffee Blues Band on Jan. 1 at Pete’s Waterfront Ale House on Atlantic Avenue.

“Blues is filled with emotion,” said Neilson, a Queens native who’s lived on Plaza Street East between Flatbush and Vanderbilt avenues for the past 15 years, and is known to perform at the Brooklyn Heights bar. “It lifts my spirits when I listen to it.”

The 59-year-old blues man made his bones with “The A Train Blues Band” in the early 1970s, and toured briefly with rock icon Cyndi Lauper before breaking into the Manhattan blues club circuit, where he’s played with such greats as BB King and Buddy Guy.

Neilson capped his four-decade career earlier this month, when he was inducted into the New York City Blues Hall of Fame. The secret to his success, he said, was picking a theme and sticking to it.

“I usually like to sing about women problems,” Neilson said. “Mostly about missing my wife when I’m on the road.”

At least he won’t have that problem on New Year’s Day.

Arthur Neilson with the Black Coffee Blues Band at Pete’s Waterfront Ale House [155 Atlantic Avenue, between Clinton and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718-522-3794], Jan. 1, 3 pm. Free. For info, visit

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at

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