His songs may sound effortless and loose, but Neal Francis, born Neal Francis O’Hara in 1988, didn’t have an effortless life. He has battled drugs and a drinking problem, but since he turned sober, the singer/keyboardist has developed into a promising musician. He has a lot of experience on stage, having toured Europe with the son of Muddy Waters and the U.S. with prominent blues artists. In 2012, he joined the instrumental funk band The Heard that became a popular American live band under his wing. Despite this success, he opted for a solo career some years later. Since that time, he has released two irresistible albums: Changes (2019) and In Plain Sight (2021). They led critics to compare him flatteringly with legends like Leon Russell, Dr. John and JJ Cale.