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Special Father’s Day Preview From Ronnie Earl And Stony Plain Records

Stony Plain Records to Offer Special “Father’s Day” Advance Present to Radio and Fans with Download of Title Track from Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters’ New Album

RonnieEarlFathersDayEDMONTION, AB – Stony Plain Records plans to offer a special present to radio stations and other media by making available the title track from acclaimed guitarist Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters’ new Father’s Day CD in advance of the Father’s Day observance on June 21. Stony Plain will make the track available by sending a link to DJs on June 15 as an exclusive early download to radio stations; and also offer everyone the song as a free download for two days only on June 20 and 21 at https://soundcloud.com/stony-plain-records/ronnie-earl-fathers-day/

Voted by The Blues Foundation as “Blues Guitarist of the Year” in 2014, guitar master Ronnie Earl and his band return with an even stronger package of music, his ninth album for the label. Added to Ronnie Earl’s spellbinding intensity and soulfulness on guitar, the presence of a horn section for the first time in decades on Father’s Day, set for release on July 17, adds another dimension to his sound. Stony Plain also plans to release the album as a vinyl LP later this year.

MichaelLedbetterThe title of the forthcoming CD has special significance to Ronnie, who found healing with his father, Jerry Akos Horvath, on Father’s Day of last year. Jerry was a Holocaust survivor, as was his mother Rose, and was liberated from Auschwitz in 1945. Both of Ronnie’s parents died in 2014. Ronnie made peace with his father after having had a rocky relationship, which had both its ups and downs, joys and struggles. In the song, realizing that time is short, Ronnie asks the listener to ponder the price of living with resentments in a series of questions: “Can you make peace? Can you be the generous one? Can you forgive? Can you cancel all the debt?” Ronnie’s deeply felt guitar voice and the equally heartfelt vocals, sung by Michael Ledbetter, lead the listener to a place of hope when forgiveness happens and resentments are left behind.
Click here to download a photo of Ronnie’s dad: http://bit.ly/ronnieearls-father

Ronnie Earl dedicated his new CD to his father thusly: “This album is made for my beautiful father, and we came to peace in the end. Don’t ever give up on your family and don’t quit until the miracle happens.”

For more information, visit www.ronnieearl.com and www.stonyplainrecords.com.

Songs For Saturday – Weekly CD Reviews

I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend. We have four new reviews for you. Yes, I’m a day late and a dollar short but I wrote a lot, went off the rails here and there and even threw in a rant! I hope you enjoy this week’s reviews and find something interesting for your ears!

OtisClayJohnnyRawlsSoulBrothersOtis Clay & Johnny Rawls

Soul Brothers

Catfood Records

Released Date: October 21, 2014

 

I am not the world’s biggest Soul music fan. I like it but I have to be in the mood for it, and I have conflicting feelings regarding its inclusion under the Blues umbrella. If I go to a Blues festival or show, I want to hear blues. I want to hear some poor bastard with a broken heart playing his guts out in 12 bars or less. I want it lean and mean, and not too clean. Soul music is just too nice. I’ve seen Johnny Rawls, and Otis Clay in concert and while both shows were enjoyable I wasn’t blown away by either. Then again, each set was at a Blues festival and I wasn’t really in the mood for Soul music. Hell, either could have been one of those times I listened to Soundgarden on the way to the show. Soul music doesn’t make its way into my purview all that often. I have my Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett records and that’s about as far as it goes. And now, across my desk comes a new album by two big names in Soul music – Otis Clay and Johnny Rawls. I had low expectations. I hear soul music in movies, or on SiriusXM once in a while for a change of pace, and a lot of it seems schmaltzy. Such was my state of mind when I popped Soul Brothers into the player.

Wow. The first song has these two Soul music gurus doing a classic Dave Mason track. It seems like a sellout to get people interested – the white people that unfortunately make up 90% of the Blues audience. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. The band gets a little funky and the vocal arrangement plays to the strengths of both vocalists and by the end of the first chorus I’m digging in and listening closer. What seemed like a pandering choice started to seem like a bold choice. They could have led off their first full length collaboration with any song but they went with this. I don’t know if it was their idea, the management, the label, or who, but it was a great choice. It helps that the band pulled it off. The band is The Rays featuring Richy Puga on drums, Bob Trenchard on bass, Johnny McGhee on guitar, Dan Ferguson on keyboards, Andy Roman on sax, Mike Middleton on trumpet, Robert Claiborne on trombone, Nick Flood on sax and The Iveys – Arlen, Jessica and Jillian – providing background vocals. I guess it worked on all levels and hopefully not just because I’m white. They definitely got me interested and in the mood to hear more.

This dynamic collaboration started last year when Otis Clay was a guest on three tracks on Johnny Rawls’ O.V. Wright tribute album Remembering O.V. They both put their hearts into Soul Brothers which for my money is better than anything I’ve heard from them individually. The biggest surprise for me is the seamlessness of the originals and covers. Sure you’ve heard “Only You Know And I Know” and “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted” before but it feels like you’ve heard “Road Dogs” and “Poor Little Rich Girl” too. They’ve crafted a “Best Of Soul” record using original material. It’s quite a feat and a testament to the artistry of these two men. Otis Clay and Johnny Rawls are both in excellent voice and this is one of those recordings where you can hear the smiles going back and forth between these guys. “Road Dog” has them exploring their parallel travels in the business and in Tyrone Davis’ “Turn Back The Hands Of Time” Rawls calls on Taylor to take us back to 1966 just as Otis belts out his testimony as the tune closes. “Hallelujah Lord” finds both men embracing their gospel roots, “Voodoo Queen” is the closest they come to a blues song, and “Living On Borrowed Time” has big bad horn arrangements straight out of Memphis. To call Soul Brothers a tour de force may see like hyperbole and maybe it is, but with Soul Brothers Otis Clay and Johnny Rawls have delivered a timeless Soul and R&B album that needs to be heard by everyone on Pop radio calling themselves Soul singers. Soul Brothers is the real thing.

DukeRobillardCallingAllBluesDuke Robillard Band

Calling All Blues

Stony Plain

Released on September 23, 2014

 

Duke Robillard’s history is in many ways the history of modern blues. He’s been in Roomful Of Blues and Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Blues Music Awards named him “Best Blues Guitarist” four out of five years from 2000 to 2004, and even B.B. King has called him “one of the great players.” Over the years Duke has been a champion for all forms of Blues and has covered most of them. The new record from the Duke Robillard Band is “Calling All Blues” and once again Duke brings together many styles on to one disc.

The music has a classic sound and Duke’s gruff raspy vocals are the perfect complement to the songs. His name may be Duke Robillard but he is the King of Tone. Even if he wrote horrible songs they would sound great. I would hate Techno less if they sampled Duke’s tones. Every blues tone you could want is on this new disc. And the acoustic bass? Damn, that thing sounds good. It was recorded perfectly too. It’s unobtrusive but if it was gone you’d probably cry until they put it back. It’s warm, fuzzy, and groovy – this music swings with style. Duke addresses the tones lyrically too, with “Nasty Guitars.” In the liner notes he mentions that he’ll occasionally be playing some beautiful passage in a nice clean tone and people will be looking bored. He knows it’s time to rip it up with some Nasty Guitars.

“Down In Mexico” is a laid back shuffle that suits the fun in the sun vibe. “I’m Gonna Quit My Baby” is a swinging bopper that will have you moving like a tilt-a-whirl. Duke’s open string fills and gritty tone are superb. The beat is countered by stuttering piano lines courtesy of Bruce Bears. It’s delightful. “Svengali” is a mind bending carnival of sound. I don’t know what the Hell is going on in this song but I love it. There are echoes, slides, stomps, string bends, and the machine that goes “ping.” It will make you dizzy, twist your mind, and make you wish you were Big. Keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times please. “Emphasis On Memphis” is as advertised and “Motor Trouble” seems to be a veiled reference to losing a little bit of your get up and go power. As producer and guest guitarist on many Stony Plain releases, and with his own prolific output, this surely can’t apply to the Duke himself.

I love the tones and tunes on Calling All Blues but “Confusion Blues” is too soft and smooth. It sticks out among the gritty vocals from Duke and all the grimy, low-down grooves on the rest of the album. It’s not a bad song or performance, but it pulls you out of the moment. Otherwise this is a perfect album. It clocks in around 40 minutes and makes the most of it. Even Sunny Crownover turns up to sing her guts out for you on “Blues Beyond The Call Of Duty.” Calling All Blues is calling all blues fans far and wide, mobilizing the troops and bringing in new recruits. Get in line with the Duke and move, people. It’s boogie time.

 

SkylaBurrellBandBluesScarsSkyla Burrell Band

Blues Scars

VizzTone

Released On October 7, 2014

 

Skyla Burrell Band. Never heard of them. It’s a big blues world out there and new contenders appear constantly. I was surprised to learn the band has been in existence for quite some time. The band was formed by Skyla Burrell and Mark Tomlinson in 2002. Their first album was 2004’s Working Girl Blues. The new disc, Blues Scars, is their fifth! The good thing about discovering a band five records into a career is that you don’t have to wait a few years to hear more, if you want to. I want to. The Sklya Burrell Band is tight. They don’t just lay it down; they knock it down and kick it. It’s blues, it’s rock, it’s swinging good time Saturday night fist fight low down hoe down get down and boogie music. Even the ballads have a fair amount of strut and swagger.

The disc kicks off with little fanfare and dives right in to the title cut which features a stuttering riff under Skyla’s vocal. She belts it out and fills in the gaps on lead guitar. Skyla Burrell shares lead guitar duties with Mark Tomlinson. Thankfully the liner notes let us know Skyla takes the first solo in each song and Mark takes second. Their styles mesh like Keith Richards and Mick Taylor. The rhythm guitars are just as important as the leads in this band and they masterfully weave around each other. “Shut You Down” has a marching stomp beat with a sidewinding riff and terse lead guitars. “Love Letter In Blue” is a wistful ballad with tender sentiments and mournful lead guitar lines permeating the soul of the song. On “6 Mile Cemetery Road” they unleash some Screamin’ Jay Hawkins hoodoo and “Juke Joint Tonight” has all the tilted swing of the finest Chuck Berry records. Drummer Ezell Jones, Jr. reminds me of Steve Jordan on this tune, and a few others, from the style to the tuning of the snare. Mr. Jones is a jazzy rocker deep in the pocket. It’s a beautiful thing.

When this disc showed up I had no idea what to expect. The CD cover’s Windows Paint lettering screams low budget ambivalence and the band shot looks like a Prom photo gone wrong, with the band leader looking like she just stepped off the Walk Of Shame. Is it wrong to complain about album covers? I know budgets are tight but still, you want something representative of the music. You don’t want somebody putting the CD down or passing it by altogether because it looks like maybe you just didn’t give a damn how your hard work was represented on the cover. The high energy, rough and tumble spirit of the band would have been better captured almost any other way. I have mad Photoshop skills. I volunteer to do the next cover for them, free of charge. And it’s not just this band. There are several out there with album covers of dubious origin and it obviously irritates me. Maybe the record labels are to blame. I don’t know, just fix it! Okay, end of rant. It’s the music that matters and I want people to be interested enough by the cover to want to hear the music.

Blues Scars is a Rock & Roller’s blues album. It swings, it bops, it zips, and it dips. It’s old style Rock & Roll that came straight from the Blues. This band hits it fast, hard, and often. Most of the songs are between two and a half and four minutes. They fill the songs with hot licks, sweet tones, impassioned vocals, and undeniable spirit. Between Skyla’s tremendous voice, twin blazing guitars and deeply grooving rhythm section you have a recipe for all night boogie marathons that are guaranteed to leave a few Blues Scars behind. Get yours today!

 

MarkusJamesHeadForTheHillsMarkus James

Head For The Hills

Firenze Records

Released Date: October 28, 2014

 

Markus James loves percussion and he loves the blues. Markus has been playing blues-based music with traditional West African musicians since 1994. In that year he made his first visit to Niafunke, the northern Mali home of the legendary Ali Farka Toure. Markus James has studied the West African rhythms, cadences, and styles as well as their blues counterparts in the United States, particularly in Mississippi. As he traveled around Mississippi after a successful 2003 appearance University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, he encountered familiar music and was drawn in by the old-school drummers. At one point, after performing in Mali, West Africa, Markus James made a realization, “I came back to the US, saw the Deep Blues film, and was amazed to see the exact same thing that I had just seen in the sand dunes outside Timbuktu: three drummers and a guy playing what they call a cane flute. It was just such an obvious connection between the musical traditions I had been immersed in in West Africa and some of the traditional music in North Mississippi.” On his new album, Markus chose to Head For The Hills. The North Mississippi Hills.

Markus James recruited Junior’s son Kinney Kimbrough, Calvin Jackson who played with R.L. Burnside, and Junior Kimbrough, Aubrey “Bill” Turner from Otha Turner’s fife and drum band, and R.L. Boyce who played with Jessie Mae Hemphill. In addition to these A-list rhythm makers he brought in Marlon Green, who was the last drummer for John Lee Hooker, and who is currently working live shows with James. The drummers, who split duties on the album, are the only instrumentalists aside from Markus James on the album but James plays a plethora of instruments himself. He sings and plays electric slide guitar, 3-string cigar box guitar, gourd banjo, slide dulcimer, acoustic guitar, harmonica, beatbox, and a snakeskin-covered 1-string diddley bow. The result is an earthy, primitive, and complex combination. Everything about this music is percussive, even James guitar playing. The way he plucks the strings and slaps the guitar while playing slide belie the heart of a drummer. Even the most stripped down tracks on Head For The Hills will give you plenty to hold on to and will keep your foot tapping.

You can’t get much more primitive than “Diddley Bow And Buckets” which has only the instruments named in the title. Still it is a compelling track, solidifying the notion that excellent music can come from unlikely objects. Album opener “Just Say Yes” is a driving, thumping Hill Country trance-inducer, “Gone Like Tomorrow” is a spacey, wide open adventure in dreamland, and “Nomo” is an anguished dirge. “Woke Me” which features Kinney Kimbrough has a “Rollin’ And Tumblin’” groove. Head For The Hills closes with an appropriately organic acoustic piece called “Green.” Most of the music can’t really be described. The tones and beats come at you in unfamiliar combinations and every song raises your expectations for the next. Head For The Hills is a wonderful exploration of primordial music in a high tech world and makes the musical connection from future to past.

Fresh Biscuits! MonkeyJunk – Tiger In Your Tank CD Review

MonkeyJunkTigerInYourTankMonkeyJunk
Tiger In Your Tank (2014 Reissue with Bonus Tracks)
Stony Plain

Tiger In Your Tank is MonkeyJunk’s first album and has now been reissued by their current label, Stony Plain, and the new version includes two bonus tracks recorded in 2014. It’s hard to believe this is a debut album. Their sound seems so fully realized and they play together intuitively like it’s been years but they were a relatively new band at the time of the recording. MonkeyJunk formed around Steve Marriner and Tony Diteodoro, two old friends who enlisted drummer Matt Sobb to round out the trio. Together, they developed their rustic, no-bass sound over a few months of playing live. They were nominated for awards before their debut album came out and the buzz has built to a roar since then.

The album opens with a lonesome harmonica and the Son House quote that gave the band its name. “I’m talkin’ ’bout the Blues. . . I ain’t talkin’ ’bout monkey junk!” and then launches into a high energy take on Muddy Waters’ “I Wanna Put A Tiger In Your Tank.” The insistent beat and snarling guitars propel the song and Marriner’s harp signals the arrival of the chugging freight train MonkeyJunk calls their debut album.  “Pay the Cost” is like a modern day take on “Mother Earth.” No one makes it out alive and the mournful harp and earthy guitar tones remind us of the inevitable dirt nap we all get for playing. “’If You Were Mine” sounds like a Stevie Ray Vaughan take on Otis Rush which probably says more about Otis’ influence on SRV than anything else. MonkeyJunk turn in a fun version with a brisk shuffle pace with some badass barroom blowing on harp from Steve Marriner and a barnstorming solo from Tony D.

Tony D is a skilled slide guitar player which reminds me that guys like Duane Allman, Sonny Landreth, Derek Trucks, Lowell George and the late, great Johnny Winter get all the accolades when it comes to slide guitar but there are a ton of great slide players hiding in plain sight. Unfortunately, with the music business the way it is, you have to actively seek them out. If you are looking for a good one carrying the torch of the legends but melding styles and playing with a masterful touch and intonation listen to Tony D. His slide chops are all over Tiger In Your Tank but he plays in such a natural, organic way that you can hear it and not realize the skill it takes to make it sound that way. For instance, “Blues For Anna” is a classic Chicago Elmore James style slide tune, except that it isn’t. James’ signature riff is missing but not missed because Tony weaves together licks from the Hill Country to the Delta for a swampy, gritty romp through the bayou of Chicago’s South Side.

“Beefy” indeed has a big, bold tone with lyrical playing from Tony D. “Beefy” is a showcase tune for the whole band. Steve Marriner howls and moans on harp, and percussionist Matt Sobb adds a little hoodoo to the big beat. Speaking of hoodoo, “Boogie Man” is surprise take on Freddie King’s Blackwell/Russell composition. This is what cover songs should be: a near reinvention. Any bar band can faithfully reproduce a song and they’ll always be a bar band. MonkeyJunk deconstructs “Boogie Man” and rebuilds it as a swampy, murky stomp that reminds us more of the scary phantom of childhood nightmares than a womanizer in the 70’s discothèques. It might be my favorite Freddie King cover ever.

The additional bonus songs illustrate the continuity of sound this band has had since its debut album. The first is “Lucky One” and is a high energy rocking tune starting off with the fuzzed out guitar riff that fits in well with the 2009 tones on Tiger In Your Tank. It sounds like Sobb is playing a full kit and it’s missing some of the more interesting accents he uses to great effect on other tracks but everything about this tunes says the boys just wanted to rock and I’m right there with them. This is not a throwaway bonus track that leaves you wish the bonus was cash. Well maybe you still want the money, but the song is excellent and doesn’t musically disappoint. “Pueblo” closes the disc with all the hallmarks of this great debut album. Howling, menacing harp, rich rhythmic elements, and sweet guitar tones for miles. I don’t know where this Pueblo is but it’s got to be somewhere in the swamps of Louisiana, among the cypress, tupelo and alligators. For some reason, it reminds me of the way “When The Levee Breaks” ends Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. It’s dark and eerie and keeps you wondering what’s coming next.

So who are MonkeyJunk? Steve Marriner is a multi-instrumentalist supplying vocals, baritone guitar (baritone guitar? yes, please!), and is perhaps known best as one of Canada’s finest purveyors of harmonica blasting and back porch blowing. Steve has toured and performed with Harry Manx and Sue Foley. He’s appeared on Harry Manx recordings, as well as records from JW Jones Blues Band, and Steve Dawson. He also released his own album, Going Up, in 2007. He won the Ottawa Blues Harp Blow-Off at age 14 and got a spot on stage at that summer’s Ottawa Cisco Blues Festival. But is he any good? Yes, he’s good. He also produced the album and played organ on a few tracks. No, he’s not just showing off.

Tony Diteodoro (aka Tony D) has spent 20 years on the Canadian blues scene with his own band as guitar player, singer, and songwriter. He has played festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, toured Europe several times, and played for Canadian Forces troops stationed around the World. He has released six CDs and is active with Blues In The Schools and other charities. So, he’s been around and seems like a nice guy, but can he play? Let’s ask the eight ball… Sources say yes, and they’re quite right.

Last but not least, the engine driver Matt Sobb was a busy Ottawa-based freelance drummer before he joined MonkeyJunk. He has played with Jeff Healey, Johnnie Johnson, Kim Wilson, Colin Linden, and Lee Oskar just to name a few. He can play any style and uses a variety of percussive instruments to add texture and accents to the MonkeyJunk sound. But can he play the blues? Well if Kim Wilson is calling you, you can play the blues.

Together these gentlemen have created a unique sound beyond classification; breaking blues barriers and building a reputation as custodians of the modern blues. Their sound is at once Chicago Blues, swampy Louisiana Blues, Mississippi Hill Country meets Delta Blues with a dash of Folk, Country, and Funk. It could be a disaster musically but they deftly pull it off, seemingly with no effort at all and that’s how you know they’re good. It takes work, practice, and skill to create something so fresh from forms so old. If Son House was around, he’d surely be talking about MonkeyJunk now.

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Fresh Biscuits! Ronnie Earl – Good News CD Review

RonnieEarlGoodNewsCDCoverRonnie Earl

Good News

Stony Plain Records

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters new disc Good News, on Stony Plain Records, is out today. Ronnie Earl won Best Instrumentalist Guitar at the 2014 Blues Music Awards in Memphis on May 8, 2014 – pretty good for a guy who started playing guitar at the age of 20. His musical life was changed by Muddy Waters and eventually so was his name. Apparently Muddy could never remember Ronnie’s original surname “Horvath.” Ronnie changed his last name to “Earl” as a tribute to the great Earl Hooker. Ronnie Earl joined Roomful Of Blues in 1979, made a few solo albums in the 80’s and went solo full time with the Broadcasters in 1988. The band has changed lineups over the years, but the lineup on Good News, featuring Jimmy Mouradian on bass, Dave Limina on organ, and Lorne Entress on drums, has been playing together for over a decade and it shows.

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters recorded their eighth Stony Plain album, Good News, over December 20th & 21st, 2013 at Wellspring Studios in Acton, MA. They invited some friends to join including vocalist Diane Blue, Detroit guitarist Nicholas Tabarias, and guitarist Zach Zunis of the Janiva Magness band. Together, they turned out a soulful, spiritual, uplifting record, just as the title suggests. Good News starts off fast, rolling south on the tracks toward Mississippi. “I Met Her On That Train” recalls “Mystery Train” but mixes in a dash of Tennessee Two-stepping Folsom Prison boogie. Dave Limina digs deep, taking us to the clubs on Saturday and church on Sunday. Guests Zach Zunis takes the first guitar solo of the disc – a classy move by Mr. Earl – and keeps us moving southbound with some countrified licks. Nicholas Tabarias takes the second guitar solo; playing licks that would make Carl Perkins and Scotty Moore smile, and the inimitable Mr. Earl takes the third solo of the disc. All the solos add to the song, but Ronnie Earl’s exquisite touch on rhythm guitar makes the song. He plucks out a lone bass note followed by fast moving chorded riffs on the high strings that keep the tune moving like a steam train fireman stoking the coal.

The title Good News celebrates Sam Cooke’s album, Ain’t That Good News, released 50 years ago in 1964. After getting arrested down South in 1963, Cooke was inspired to write the song, “Change is Gonna Come.” Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters also pay tribute by covering the song on Good News. They invited vocalist Diane Blue to put her stamp on the track and she sings it with power and conviction. As the song progresses and picks up energy, Mr. Earl punctuates Diane Blue’s pleas with aggressively strummed outbursts that capture the defiance of the civil rights movement and the urgency that comes from knowing you might have to bring on the change yourself. This is a powerful rendition of “Change Is Gonna Come” and is not to be missed.

On “Blues for Henry,” a song co-written with Hubert Sumlin, Mr. Earl leans into the bent notes and squeezes them for all they’re worth. He exercises perfect control without sounding like he’s trying. He wrenches your guts like your grandma died and makes you smile like you just found a puppy. He is precise even when he seems on the edge of becoming unglued. Listening to him play can be an exercise in frustration for guitar players because he is just that good. “In The Wee Hours” is another song full of Earlisms on guitar that will make you shake your head. Zach Zunis admirably sets up with master, playing a superb solo of his own but Mr. Earl now owns this Junior Wells classic. He captured in music the dreamy, transitory consciousness found in the wee hours as sleep beckons and the mind struggles to resist the call.

“Time To Remember” features delicate piano and captivating organ playing from Dave Limina. “Marje’s Melody” is a melancholy guitar workout with Nicholas Tabarias again sitting in and taking the second solo. “Puddin’ Pie” brings up the energy level with a strutting shuffle, as does the Gospel march of the title track “Good News.” The album closes with “Runnin’ In Peace” featuring words written by The band’s friend Ilana Katz Katz who was only 50 feet from the first Boston marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. Ilana and Ronnie Earl wrote the song together and Diane Blue again put her heart into the words as vocalist as she pleads for a higher power to save us from ourselves. Ronnie’s guitar has an edgier tone with a little more gain than usual and his torrid playing captures the heartbreak, confusion, and sorrow of the Boston Marathon bombing. It is beautiful music born of an ugly tragedy.

I’ve spent a lot of time with this disc since it came in the mail. It arrived the night before Mr. Earl’s scheduled performance at the Western Maryland Blues Festival. I waited for the three hour ride to check it out and I was only marginally disappointed. I’m not a big fan of female vocalists – it’s a character flaw, I know – and the albums featured vocalist is female. The Good News is that I’ve since gotten over it with this new disc. The amazing news was Mr. Earl’s Saturday evening performance. It was stunning, it was sublime; it was any superlative you can imagine. He is one with his instrument and coveys his heart and soul through his playing. He is pure inspiration. Since then, Good News has been played a dozen times or more. I’ve lost count. I hear the notes and see Mr. Earl in my mind’s eye, on stage, hands moving in tandem, face contorted by ecstatic conscription, kneeling in genuflection to the higher power of the music that seems to flow through him. I feel that joy and hear it all throughout Good News. Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters has captured its spirit and presented it to you as the Good News you’ve been waiting for. Wait no longer. And if this band turns up anywhere within a day’s drive make sure you get there.

 

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters have some shows coming up this summer:

Sat June 28 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Saratoga Springs, NY  1:20pm
Thur July 3 Payomet Performing Arts  Truro, MA  8:00pm
Sat July 26 PA Blues Festival  Palmerton, PA 6:15pm
Sat Aug 2 Jonathan’s  Ogunquit, ME 9:00pm
Fri Aug 15 Evanston Space Chicago, IL 8:00pm
Sat Sept 6 The Knickerbocker  Westerly, RI 8:00pm
Fri Sept 12 Natick Center for the Arts  Natick, MA  8:00pm
Fri Oct. 17 The Newton Theater Newton, NJ 8:00pm