The year is only a couple of months old and already it has provided a boon for music fans, with the reformation of Young Neal & the Vipers, one of the hottest blues-rock outfits of the 1980s-’90s.

The year is only a couple of months old and already it has provided a boon for music fans, with the reformation of Young Neal & the Vipers, one of the hottest blues-rock outfits of the 1980s-’90s.


Vocalist Dave Howard, who served as lead singer with Roomful of Blues from 2006 to 2009 and has released compelling solo albums during the past decade, has officially reunited with Young Neal Vitullo, whose six-string pyrotechnics have been tearing up New England nightclubs for decades.


After taking turns dropping in as guests on each other’s gigs, Vitullo and Howard decided in December to make their reunion official.


Aside from the fact that it pairs one of New England’s most talented and dynamic guitarists with the soulful grit of Howard’s voice and harmonica work, the band combines two standout songwriters. Howard and Vitullo have begun writing tunes together.


“Yes, we’ve made the unholy alliance official once more,” Vitullo said with a laugh from his home in Warren, R.I. “We finally just decided to go out and work together all the time … We never really stopped playing together, even when we had different bands.”


The Vitullo-Howard bond dates to the early ’80s, when Young Neal and the Vipers quickly won fans across New England, and eventually a recording deal with Atlantic Records. Vitullo finds it amusing to look back at YouTube videos of the band in its heyday.


“There’s one clip on YouTube of us with Gatemouth Brown,” said Vitullo. “And it’s a good one, but I see it and I remember we had done three gigs that day and a late-night show the night before.


“The year we signed to Atlantic, we did over 300 gigs. It was just a crazy time.”


When it came time to split up, the two friends parted amicably, with Howard forming the High Rollers before eventually hooking up with Roomful of Blues, which offered him more security and a chance to branch out into more varieties of rhythm and blues.


But eventually that band’s endless touring wore him out and he returned, performing solo gigs until reuniting with Vitullo.


“It’s so cool to have Dave back and have his harmonica back in the band,” said Vitullo. “And, I’m not tied to the mike stand anymore either, which I love. Working as a trio is a lot of work for everyone involved. Going back to a four-piece has been a lot of fun, and the reaction from people has been awesome.


“When you’ve played with someone steadily for 12 years, you don’t realize how much you retain, even years later. All the little things come back.”


The quartet, which also includes Steve Bigelow on bass and Mike Labelle on drums, is excited about putting together a new album.


“We’re turning out lots of material –– I wrote a song for Dave the other day. But we’re also looking at re-recording some songs we’d done a long time ago because our new versions have such a different approach,” Vitullo said.


“I’ve actually been picking on my Telecaster quite a bit lately,” he added. “When we play, we do a lot of our original stuff, from both our careers, as well as the things we’re writing now. Maybe we’ll do some surprising stuff, like some Waylon Jennings, too.”


“We’re not making music at this point to get rich or sell a million records,” Vitullo said. “We’re making music because we want to, playing for the sake of playing.”