Phil Neal and The Wornalls / Press

“I'm accustomed to embarrassing myself on the radio. My latest faux pas occurred while I was talking up the latest album by Phil Neal & the Wornalls. I suggested that I'd just as soon catch the Kansas City band at the RecordBar as make an investment in a ticket for Tom Petty & the Heartbreaker's concert at Sprint Center. A colleague quickly pointed out that Petty's concert had been canceled. Even so, I stand by my sentiment. The Wornalls may not be as accomplished as the Heartbreakers and Neal's vocal range is even more limited than Petty's. Yet the songs on the new album Lifeline are raw, honest and entirely relevant to my life.”

“The Kansas City native is the epitome of a Midwestern rocker, and with his latest band, The Wornalls, he’s in no mood to let his reputation slip. Their debut long-player “Lonely Tonight” is a genuine treat, the sort of record that The Jayhawks and Tom Petty brought out in their primes - records that combine rootsy Americana rock with hook-heavy power pop. Back in the very early ‘80s, Neal and his band The Artists were regulars on MTV, and seemed on the verge of a major commercial breakthrough. It would be nice to think that “Lonely Tonight” could somehow replicate that success. Indeed, if it was just down to the quality of the song, and their execution, Neal and has band would be on near constant rotation on grown-up radio stations all over the western world. The album begins with a stone cold classic-to-be in “Bad Boys. In Your Car Tonight” slows things down somewhat, without sacrificing its pop nous, and the title track is surely a big hit in some parallel universe w”

“Phil Neal's résumé as a local pop songwriter dates back to 1979, when his band the Artists played shows with Kenny Loggins and later landed some brief MTV rotation. Their recently released debut album, Lonely Tonight, is no great departure for Neal, just another friendly batch of rootsy power-pop songs. The clearest touchstone is probably the Jayhawks, who also like the way acoustic guitars, jangly electric guitars and vocal harmonies sound together. (Although, what kind of monster doesn't?) There's also a bit of pub rock in the proceedings (opener "Bad Boys") and a few unexpected instrumental flourishes (the pretty accordion on standout cut "In Your Car Tonight"). There's nothing remotely cool about Lonely Tonight — technically, it's dad rock — but that doesn't matter a whit. A nice, warm verse-chorus-verse has a way of transcending fashion.”

“There's a certain nostalgic itch that can only be scratched by the power pop and pub rock of another era. Given everything that's transpired in the past three decades, it's impossible for today's musicians to match that gloriously naive sound. Or is it? Lonely Tonight, the latest release by Kansas City's Phil Neal & the Wornalls, is a pitch-perfect throwback to that era. Its eight songs are untouched by time. Neal comes by the sound honestly. He led the power pop movement in Kansas City thirty years ago. The videos for his minor hit "Standard Question" and "2 Time Loser" are essential artifacts of Kansas City music history. While dealing with more mature themes, Neal remains true to those roots. Sure, Lonely Tonight has a few pitch problems, but that's precisely why it works. The complete lack of affectation and a steadfast commitment to old-school production values are charming. Lonely Tonight doesn't contain an ounce of pretension.”

“This Kansas City, Missouri, band incorporates some of the best elements that have marked Midwestern rock and roll since Bob Seger rolled his Silver Bullet train out of Michigan in the mid ’60s. The highway rhythms of bands like Seger’s and lesser lights like REO Speedwagon are the perfect delivery system for Neal’s originals. These cuts have a lean, straightforward character. Most of Neal’s songs are built around strong identifying riffs. Along with the occasional solo like the one in “Bad Boys” or the opening licks to “I’ll Be There,” those riffs show there really is a Midwest school of guitar playing that owes much to people like the Silver Bullet Band’s Drew Abbott and Illinois-born Steve Hunter, the phenomenal guitarist who started out in Mitch Ryder’s band Detroit. Even with little in the way of traditional lead guitar these songs have a strong guitar presence.As long as Neal keeps that up and his material stays strong he shouldn’t have”