Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Just For Today - New Release Review

I have just received the newest release, Just For Today, from Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters and it is crazy great! (actual release date April 9, 2013). I have been a Ronnie Earl fan for a long time and I have to say this may be his all time greatest effort. This release was recorded live at three different venues, The Regent Theatre, The Natick Center for the Arts and the Narrows Center for the Arts, all in Massachusetts where Earl resides. Opening with The Big Train, Earl sets a solid swing tempo and plays soulful guitar riffs showing why he is so highly regarded in the industry. Dave Limina plays a cool organ interlude on this track as well rounding out a great instrumental tune. Next up is Blues For Celie, a slow deep blues track and Earl digs deep inside bringing out outrageous feeling and fretboard dexterity. This song plays it low key right up until late in the game when Earl opens the barn door and just literally blows you off of your seat with intense ripping steam! Clocking in at over 9 minutes, Earl leaves you wanting more... and there's more to come! The melody of Miracle has the beautiful character of a Santana composition but not played Latin style or with any of Santana riffs. This is another absolutely terrific cut and Earl keeps you glues to your seat. Heart of Glass is another deep blues number and Earl continues to find fresh avenues to express himself. You would think that after 4 tracks without a spoken word a guy could run out of riffs. Think again. Earl plays beautiful arpeggiated chords and the band (Limina, Lorne Entress on drums and Jim Mouradian on bass) set a very clean table for Earl to show his extravagant wares. On Rush Hour, a 12 bar blues along the lines of Green Onions or Help Me, Limina paves the way for Earl who literally steps up and plays Texas style like he invented it! If you think that this release can't be this good...think about this... I can't even think of words to describe how good this is! On Vernice's Boogie, Limina takes the lead laying down a solid piano boogie. Yes, this is great too ... a real foot stomper! Earl steps up about midway through and turns this into Earl's Boogie. Smokin! Blues For Hubert Sumlin is another great deep blues track. One of the secrets of making a great deep blues track is to set a great groove and then just lay back and let it happen. The band does set great groundwork and Earl just eats this track up like a starving man. A little variation from what has come so far is John Coltrane's Equinox. Set with a light Latin rhythm, Earl plays a tight jazzy interpretation of this classic song. Limina steps up with some great organ work as well balancing the overall sound. Next up is Ain't Nobody's Business, opening with some great acoustic piano work in a jazz/gospel/blues sound. Very very nice. Earl takes the melody on guitar and with Limina on organ. Using his guitar as a vocal instrument, Earl plays some of the most soulful lines on record so far this year. This track, also clocking in over 9 minutes keeps you silent and in awe. By now you're saying, this can't be this good... oh yeah... it is! Crankin' up Robert Nighthawk Stomp, the band is back in swing mode and Earl and Limina trade riffs. Earl isn't holding back on this track and drives it home. You want a toe tapper...this is it! On Jukein', a great paced loping blues track, Earl sets the pace and then Limina takes his turn again on keys. Taking it down one more time Earl teams up with Diane Blue for the only vocal and absolutely terrific version of I'd Rather Go Blind. Blue knocks it out of the park on this track complimenting perfectly the band on this set of tracks. Last up is Pastorale, a very subtle melodic exploration of the guitar. This is a beautifully melodic and dynamic instrumental.

 Earl is absolutely on fire in this set and if you love guitar and you love blues... this is a must have. This may be the best release I've heard in a long time.

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