The Upful LIFE Podcast Ep.051: NEAL FRANCIS (singer-songwriter-keys) / + Salute to SOSMP w/ SCOTT T


Welcome white-hot singer/songwriter/keyboardist NEAL FRANCIS to Episode 051! Neal is straight outta Chicago’s buzz-bin, an artist riding a meteoric rise to the heart of the zeitgeist, thanks to his monumental 2019 debut solo LP Changes. On November 5th, Neal dropped his stunning sophomore record In Plain Sight on ATO Records, and has been touring hard in the run up to the release, including a raucous late-night performance at Suwannee Hulaween. In addition to an hour with Francis, Episode 051 includes a special Suwannee Hulaween tribute, and a recording of a profound talk courtesy of SOSMP philosopher-poet SCOTT T, which took place in the Oasis Tent at Hula 2021. 

  • 04:00 –   Give Thanks: Suwannee Hulaween/SOSMP  
  • 10:15 –   Neal Francis intro 
  • 17:15 –  “Praeludium 2 in C-Minor” (J.S.Bach) by Neal Francis
  • 19:00  –  Neal Francis interview
  • 1:24:00 – Scott T @ SOSMP intro
  • 1:31:15 – Scott T – Spirit of Suwannee talk from Oasis Tent, Hula 2021 

Just a couple of days before Hulaween, I had a chance to catch up with Neal in between tour stops in Charleston, SC. This was my first time meeting or speaking with him, and he’s been doing a bunch of press for his new album; during the early part of the interview I was even a little nervous. But eventually, we connect in potent fashion, discussing his early days with Chi-town’s nascent funk band The Heard, Francis’ spiral into alcoholism, bottoming out, regrouping, rebirth, and the revolution/revelation that was debut album Changes. From there we get into his latest LP, collaborators like Sergio Rios (Orgone), David Shaw (The Revivalists), Chris Gelbuda, Derek Trucks, and a peek inside the church where Francis conceived and recorded In Plain Sight,  as well as his muses and creative process. A very insightful conversation with nothing short of a shooting star. 

After Neal & I wrap up, we have a little more about Suwannee Hulaween 2021, including a recording from an inspiring, informative talk courtesy of Florida-based poet/musician Scott T. The topic du jour was (basically) the history, mystery, and mysticism of The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. This illuminating and insightful TED-talk type situation took place on Friday 10/29 at Hulaween inside the Oasis Tent, which a sort of burgeoning educational tentacle of the Hula festival experience. I share some personal Hula reflections while introducing this talk. 

LISTEN TO NEAL FRANCIS In Plain Sight record release concert from 11.5.21 at Rosa’s Lounge in Chicago

Vibe Junkie JAM 

“People Everywhere > Gypsy Woman (Crystal Waters)”


encore, live at Suwannee Hulaween 2021


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Theme Song: “Mazel Tov”– CALVIN VALENTINE