Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ronnie Earl Brings Good News

Ronnie Earl’s latest album, Good News (Stony Plain), certainly will be good news to the guitarist’s many fans. Earl is joined once again by The Broadcasters (Lorne Entress – drums, Dave Limina – keyboards and Jim Mouradian – bass), his band of over 25 years, to create a mostly instrumental CD. Also appearing is vocalist Diane Blue and guitarists Nicholas Tabarias and Zach Zunis. 

As great a guitarist as Earl is, the presence of Blue’s vocals on several tracks certainly adds to the pleasures heard here. The Disc opens with the Memphis music inspired I Met Her on That Train, with some rockabilly tinged playing (a bit of Scotty Moore mixed with Floyd Murphy). Ms. Blue is on hand to sing Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come, with Earls’ thoughtful playing and attention to tone very evident. His facility on the fretboard is matched by the clarity and restraint of his playing. Few can convey such deep feeling, as even evident on the jazzy Time To Remember, with Limina’s organ playing standing out. 
Junior Wells is the source for In the Wee Wee Hours with another fine Diane Blue vocal and some playing from Earl that might suggest Buddy Guy (but with greater restraint than Guy would display today). Zach Zunis takes the first guitar solo here. It is followed by the infectious gospel-laced title track. Blues For Henry is a low-down instrumental tribute to the late Hubert Sumlin with Limina getting greasy on the organ.  

The closing track, Running in Peace, has lyrics written by Ilana Katz, who was near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the first bomb exploded on April 15, 2013, which Diane Blue movingly delivers with Earl and the Broadcasters providing a sober background as Earl really gets down and pulls out all the stops on the solo here. It is a moving end to another excellent recording by one of the leading guitarists in the blues.

I received my copy from the label (and/or publicist). This review appeared in the July-August Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 355) and may be downloaded as a pdf file at jazz-blues.com. Ronnie Earl will be performing at the Pennsylvania Blues Festival at Blue Mountain Ski Resort on Saturday July 26. Here is my preview of the Festival, http://inabluemood.blogspot.com/2014/03/pennsylvania-blues-festival-celebates.html. Here is a video to give a taste of Ronnie Earl performing.


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