On "Be A Light"
“A beautiful musical prayer and guiding message for the ages”
”A nourishing song with the beauty of peace hope and love ringing through Neal’s music”
Neal Katz has been making Jewish and folk music for over thirty years. Originally from Virginia Beach, VA, Neal grew up in the youth groups and summer camps of the Reform Movement and was a song-leader for three summers in Israel working with teen Israel trips. He also led music for numerous youth group conclaves and congregational services, b'nai mitzvah, Sunday School programs, and retreats around the East Coast, Midwest, and the South. In addition to three summers as the student rabbi and song-leader at Camp Ben Frankel in Carbondale, IL, Neal song-led for a Progressive Jewish Summer camp in the Former Soviet Union in the summer of 1999.
His debut album “Who Am I?” was released in 2002 with great success. From that CD, the song “Or Chadash” was included on the NFTY 2005 Ruach CD and it appeared in the Manginot 2 songbook. Neal’s “Oseh Shalom” was included in the Shabbat Anthology 3 CD and book. In addition, many of Neal’s songs have been incorporated into the music lists at Jewish camps, congregations, and youth groups.
His second album of Jewish music was titled “Strength in Numbers” and was released in Fall 2006. Neal was honored to work with producer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Nelson on this incredible follow-up CD.
Neal is also a folk musician, and he performs his music at coffee-houses, folk festivals, living room concerts, and more. Over the years, Neal has been an opening act for a number of popular musicians as they passed through East Texas. He was also a regular at local venues in Tyler, TX, and has played at coffeehouses in other parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Virginia.
In 2009, Neal released "Day Will Come," his debut folk CD filled with 13 original songs. The project was produced by singer/songwriter/producer/hero Tom Prasada-Rao.
In his quest to promote his fellow local artists, Neal produced a compilation CD in 2007 called "Rise Up." It was made up of East Texas singer/songwriters and benefited a social-service agency in Tyler, TX called PATH. He produced a follow-up CD for PATH of East Texas jazz ensembles, called "PATH Notes." And in 2012, he produced a CD called "Shelter of Peace" with artists from around the world honoring the 30th anniversary of the Hospice of East Texas. Neal has also created sampler CD of peace songs to help promote the Art of Peace - Tyler.
In 2009, Neal released "Be A Light: Chanukah Songs For Grown-ups," a collection of traditional Chanukah songs mixed with some new melodies by Neal, including the popular title track, "Be A Light," and the hit song, "On The Air." "Chanukah Songs For Grown-ups" was also produced by Tom Prasada Rao.
His song "Be A Light" was a finalist in the 2010 Expose Yourself Song Contest by ReviewPosse.com
In 2010, Neal was chosen as a finalist for the Kerrville Folk Festival's New Folk Concerts. He continues to travel to Kerrville, TX to help lead Shabbat morning services during the festival.
In 2012, Neal was the executive producer for the amazing debut release "Thoughtless Sounds" by up-and-coming artist Max Jared. Check out Max's work at http://www.maxjaredmusic.com/
Neal is the rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Tyler, TX. With his wife, Jennifer, they have a son, Micah and two daughters, Lila and Rebecca.