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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Stony Plain artist: Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Good News - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (June 17, 2014), Good News, from Ronnie Earl and it's really strong! Opening with I Met Her On That Train, an instrumental country finger pickin' infused track Earl is pushed down the track by relentless chugging by Lorne Entress on drums. Very Cool. Sam Cooke's Change Is Gonna Come featuring Diane Blue on lead vocal. I remember early in my music blog writing that I was questioned, then applauded for featuring this same track by Mr Mike Farris, one of today's absolutely top vocalists. The challenge was this being such a perfect track and how anyone else could actually do it justice (and he certainly does). Well, Blue really nails it and between her excellent phrasing and Earl's beautiful guitar work backed hardily by Entress, Dave Limina on keys and Jim Mouradian on bass, this track not only belongs, it stands up really well as not a cover but a hair raising excellent interpretation capable of carrying an entire release. Excellent! Time To Remember is a soothing jazzy blues instrumental with rich chord work, cool bass runs from Mouradian and a nice B3 interlude from Limina. Buddy Guy and Junior Wells' In The Wee Hours is up next, again featuring Blue on vocals. Such a sensuous tender blues guitar interlude isn't recorded very often. Earl is an absolutely excellent guitarist and has a brilliant sense of blues expression. Complimented on this track by Zach Zunis also on lead guitar, this band lays down some of most record worthy modern blues I have heard this year. Weighing in at over 10 short minutes, this track is over in moments. Title track Good News is a gospel revival type track spearheaded by Limina on B3. Celebrating 50 years since Sam Cooke's Ain't That Good News release, Entress plays march strong and Earl punches the track with quick bursts of biting guitar riffs. Debbie Blanchard and Earl write another beautiful melody for Six String Blessing, really reminding me melodically a lot of a Roy Buchanan composition. This is a really sweet track with lead vocals by Blue and generous soloing on B3 by Limina and spacious solos from Earl. Ronnie has a feel for blues delivery that I rarely see in his contemporaries. Rarely a grand stander, Earl just sits back and lets the blues roll from his fingers like rain from the sky... yes...again 9 minutes just floats by. Beautiful! Marje's Melody, another beautiful instrumental guitar ballad played with such feeling and patience. Earl continues to set new bars and defy expectations. I really don't know how he continues to bring forth such rare feeling. I am typically enriched to hear one track of this quality in a month. This release is packed! Blues For Henry has a bit more of a traditional blues sound but retains Earl's signature sound. Limina plays a very soulful solo on this track constantly urging Earl on to the next level. Earl busts it loose on this track reminiscent of Bloomfield breaking from a quiet blues moment to a super crescendo. The blues are deep here! This release is relentlessly great! Puddin' Pie gets a super loping swing groove going and Earl plays with the syncopation at his back making it an absolutely perfect foot stomper. Ilana Katz and Earl composed the final track, Runnin' In Peace, which has the flavor of John Lee Hooker. This is deep primitive (by design) blues with a simple beauty. Blue is highlighted on vocal on this track and along with a round bass lead from Mouradian and cool B3 work from Limina, Earl tears the floor up again with flame thrower like heat and accuracy making this a spectacular choice for the conclusion of one of the best releases of the year.... without a doubt.

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