Resurrected, by jacksoul will forever be one of my favorite CD’s, for so many reasons. Last night I came across a news item that lead singer, Haydain Neale passed away Sunday from lung cancer. To say that I was shocked doesn’t even begin to explain it.
He was 39, and he leaves behind his wife and daughter, both who loved him well, in addition to many friends and colleagues. My wishes to all of you.
Haydain Neale was a rare talent, and will always have a special place in my heart, and my daughters.
In July of 2004, I made a last-minute entry into what was then Z-95′s Jazz Festival contest, by battling wits against an American caller from down south. Half an hour later, I won the grand prize of a fantastic weekend package prize for the Jazz Festival. Included was a weekend- long, Lexus SUV rental, three luxury suites at a swanky downtown hotel, a $ 300.00 gift certificate to Granville Island Brewery restaurant, a limited production Sandhill wine basket, and best of the best, tickets to see JackSoul live at the Centre for Performing Arts. There was nothing I did not love about Haydain Neale.I loved his effortless style, his soothing sound, his easy way of making love out of musical notes with a voice that felt like it was stroking your skin like a lover should. He could take it from a wicked beat about a breakup gone bad to a lazy laying on the beach feel in a heartbeat, and it was effortless.
The weekend prize was beyond fabulous. We took the kids and another couple and had the most fantastic night out, and funny enough, we ran right into Haydain Neale in the lobby of the hotel as we arrived. I was gobsmacked to say the least , and while I was trying to play it cool, I was really just over the moon, as were my kids. My daughter who was 13 at the time, was a super-mega-crazy fan of his, and this was every teenagers dream! Ok, it was mine too…I admit it.
After the concert, Haydain was signing autographs in the lobby, and of course we went over and brought our CD’s. My daughter was so beside herself at seeing him face to fact that she couldn’t even speak, her eyes all sparkly with the moment and a grin from ear to ear.
I told Haydain what a huge fan she had always been of his, even before the latest big hits, as was I. He was shocked that a girl that age was so into his music, and told her he had a daughter too, of nearly the same age. We chatted for a moment and he thanked her so genuinely for being his fan, and asked her if it would be alright if he gave her a hug.
You have no idea – I thought her legs would give out right then and there, but she held on and he kissed her cheek, then signed my CD for me as well :
We waved goodbye and wished him well, and then, right there in front of all the concert goers in the hall, my13 year old daughter danced her happy dance all over the place, like no one was watching….
And Haydain ? He was laughing and smiling as only a father could have understood.
A moment we both remembered together last night as I phoned to tell her the news. ” No.” she said. ” He was getting better!” No one knew he had cancer as he fought back the long road from his accident a couple years ago. The family kept it private.
We spent some time together last night,my daughter and I, on our computers - her in her dorm room, and myself here at my office, planning to get his new album that is being released December 1st, and listening to the first single release, Lonesome Highway. Proceeds of the new album will go the Haydain Neale family trust.
It’s remarkably sad that he never made it. He was, such a wonderful talent, and a remarkable soul.
But as I was going through my CD cover this morning, touching the words he wrote inside, I came across something important that he wrote to his band in the thanks you’s to everyone:
” What we do is important. We give people a reason to believe in things like faith, hope and love. Music is the true healer of the soul. It is never too tired to listen and console, always there to understand and counsel. It offers painless treatment and passes no judgement. All this with a few melodies over some dirty grooves. Keep on, keepn’ on, ma bredren. There’s much to do before we cross the Jordon.”
I hope the view from the other side of the river is just fine, Haydain. Peace.