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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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Showing posts with label Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. Show all posts

Friday, October 18, 2019

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters - Beyond The Blue Door - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Beyond The Blue Door, from Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and it's really strong. Opening with Brand New Me, a Jerry Butler track, the bands starts off in a solid slot with vocal dynamo, Diane Blue up front backed by Dave Limina on piano and B3, Ronnie Earl on guitar, Forrest Padgett on drums and Paul Kochanski on bass with Mario Perrett on tenor sax, and Scott Shetler on bari sax . Slipping into a cool shuffle, Baby How Long,  Kim Wilson is up front on lead vocal and harmonica. A real Chicago style blues gives Wilson and Earl a nice opportunity to exchange solos with Anthony Geraci on piano and Peter Ward on guitar. Very nice. Henry Glover's tune made popular by Ray Charles, Drown In My Own Tears gives Earl the stage to do exactly what everyone expects of Earl, to play those long soulful runs that have been such a trademark of his sound. Exchanging phrasing with Greg Piccolo on sax, this track is really hot. An interesting twist on a Ronnie Earl album is an acoustic take on Bob Dylan's, It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry . This is a great track that I have a special fondness for and it's earlier remake by Leon Russell, featuring Dave Bromberg on acoustic guitar and lead vocal balanced with Earl on electric guitar. Two great masters playing separate interpretations together making one very nice interpretation. Another favorite and certainly one of the best showcases for Blue is A Soul That's Been Abused with it's somber feel and that of course brings out the best in Earl. If you've followed his work, you know when a track goes in excess of 9 minutes, you're in for some rich guitar soloing and it's right here. Perrett, Shetler and Piccolo add sax work making this a terrific track. The TBone Stomp is another trademark style track for Earl with his articulate and sometimes lagging off beat playing and a rock solid bottom by Michael Rush on bass. Want another slow, blues ballad. When Blue and Earl are in... I'm in. Peace of Mind is a real nice track with Blue's rich vocal playing off of Earl's response. This is a terrific track. With a serious lope, Bringing Light (To A Dark Time) has such a great feel. Blue's vocals are spot on and Earl sounds like he's a tiger waiting to pounce during his lead filler. With warm sax backing by Perrett and Shetler and Limina pushing, this is another excellent track. Wrapping the release is slow blues number, Blues for Charlottesville. With a firm bass line by Kochanski and Limina on Hammond, Earl is free to just play and he does play. This is an excellent closer for a really excellent release. 

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and Colin James Both Set to Play Big Blues Bender at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on September 6

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and Colin James Both Set to Play Big Blues Bender at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on September 6

LAS VEGAS, NV – - Four-time Blues Music Award-winning guitarist Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, as well as acclaimed Canadian guitarist Colin James, are set to play the 2019 edition of the Big Blues Bender on Friday, September 6 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Both sets will take place at “The Joint”: Colin James from 6:30 – 7:45pm; followed by Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters from 8:15-9:45pm.

Ronnie Earl, who has won “Guitar Player of the Year” honors four times from the Blues Foundation, was the hit of the most-recent Blues Music Awards show in Memphis with his show-stopping live performance of the Junior Wells classic, “In the Wee Hours.”

Earl is following that up with the August 30 release of the latest Stony Plain Records album (on CD and vinyl formats) from the blues guitar master and his band, the Broadcasters, Beyond the Blue Door. Ronnie Earl believes in the power of music to heal the mind and spirit, and that’s quickly evident in the 15 tracks on his new disc. Special guests on the album include David Bromberg, acoustic guitar and vocals; Kim Wilson, harmonica and vocals; and Greg Piccolo, tenor sax.

The core group of Broadcasters will be performing at the Big Blues Bender: Ronnie Earl, guitar; Dave Limina, Hammond B3 and piano; Diane Blue, vocals; Paul Kochanski, bass and Forrest Padgett, drums.

Beyond the Blue Door confirms Earl's status as one of the most soulful blues/soul/jazz guitarists working today. He’s also a DownBeat magazine winner for “Blues Album of the Year,” an Associate Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music and has taught at the National Guitar summer workshop in Connecticut. 

Perhaps David Bromberg, himself a master guitar craftsman, said it best about him: “Ronnie Earl is an incredible musician. He plays with more emotion than anyone else who plays blues, or really anything, today, and he gets me every time I hear him. The Broadcasters are the quality of musicians you would expect Ronnie to be playing with: solid, tasteful, and moving. You can’t be better than that.”

Acclaimed guitarist Colin James released his 19th album, Miles to Go, last September on Stony Plain Records in the USA; True North Records for the rest of the world. Miles to Go is Colin James’ ambitious sequel to his critically-acclaimed 2016 CD, Blue Highways, and it continues James’ story with a collection of carefully curated songs handpicked from some of the greatest blues artists.  

In the months leading up to the recording, as James was reflecting on songs for the album he decided to reacquaint himself with a beautiful red Gibson ES-335.  It was just like the guitar he played as a teenager, but regretfully had to sell for rent money.

While James reconnected with this guitar, Miles to Go seemed to just flow onto the studio floor.

This album blends songs old and new, some of them completely reimagined and some almost perfect homages. But all are unified by a theme of undying love for the blues and the highest respect for the creators that led the way.

Known as one of Canada’s best blues musicians, it wasn’t until Blue Highways that James found himself on a blues chart: the album spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Roots Music Report’s Blues Chart. It also landed him one of his biggest hits: “Riding in the Moonlight,” a Willie Dixon song that James once covered when busking in the streets and subways of Toronto and Montreal that landed on a Spotify playlist garnering millions of streams.

“Blues has always been a pass-it-forward kind of thing,” says James. “It’s also surprisingly hard to write. You have to be careful how modern you get in your phrasing. Certain writers can write a song that sounds like it was done 40 years ago, but it’s deceptively hard.”

Colin James will also perform at the annual star-studded charity to benefit the Handy Artists Relief Trust (HART) on Wednesday, September 4. 100% of the proceeds benefit HART. For more information on the HART fund, visit This event is ONLY open to attendees of the Big Blues Bender due to limited capacity Tickets are $35 – Standing Room Only Section; $65 – Reserved Seating Section.

When: Wed Sep, 4, 2019 @ 8pm (Doors 7:30pm)
Where: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Vinyl

Monday, November 6, 2017

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters - The Luckiest Man - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (November 17, 2017), The Luckiest Man, from Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters and it's really strong. Opening with Don Robey's Ain't That Loving You, and a great groove featuring Diane Blue on vocals, the band is smoking. Earl's perfect syncopation on his solos backed by Dave Limina on keys, Forrest Padgett on drums and Paul Kochanski on bass...excellent opener. Jim's Song is a quiet, introspective track using primarily guitar chords as the skeleton and guitar lead soloing as a lush environmental flesh. Very nice. With a cool swing, Blue is back up front on Heartbreak (It's Hurtin' Me). Limina really takes the floor with his B3 solo and Earl tears it up nicely with great balance and style. Soul track, Never Gonna Break My Faith really shows off Blue's vocal style at it's best. Earl and Limina carry the weight, but this track is all about Blue and she kills it. Sugar Ray Norcia's slow blues, Long Lost Conversation features Sugar Ray on lead vocal and harp, backed by Anthony Geraci on piano, Mike Welsh on guitar, Neil Gouvin on drums, Mudcat Ward on bass and of course Earl on lead guitar. This track is extended (over 10 minutes) and excellent! Blues For Magic Sam is another excellent track. Purely instrumental, Earl plays the melody of this excellent track with expressive confidence, technique and style. Really nice!  Wrapping the release is Fenton Robinson's You Don't Know What Love Is with it's funky beat. Blue is back up front on lead vocal works really nicely with Earl adding as much strength vocally as Earl does on guitar. This is a really strong closer for a really solid release.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

RIP - Jim Mouradian of Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters - My Thoughts are with his family and friends

Mouradian, of Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters, Passes Away

Jim Mouradian, bassist for Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters since 2000, suffered a massive heart attack and passed away following the band’s show on Saturday night, January 14, at The KATE in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

In addition to being a fantastic bassist who toured an recorded with Ronnie Earl for all those years, Jim Mouradian was an internationally known luthier, who crafted basses for a number of legendary bassist, including Chris Squire of Yes.

Ronnie Earl’s management posted the following statement yesterday on Facebook:

We are devastated to share the passing of our dear brother Jimmy Jim Mouradian of a massive heart attack last night following our show at The KATE. Jim was a man we all loved who exuded compassion, joy, faith, and gratitude for every person he met and every note he played. Please keep his wife Michele and his entire family in your prayers. We will update you when we hear of plans to celebrate his life - Debbie on behalf of all of us in the band.”

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stony Plain Records - Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Maxwell Street - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 9, 2016), Maxwell Street, from Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and it's a scorcher! Opening with Mother Angel, a tight jazz influenced number featuring Ronnie Earl and Nicholas Tabarias on guitar, Lorne Entress on drums, Dave Limina on keys and Jim Mouradian on bass. Slow blues, Elegy For A Bluesman is one of many beautifully executed tracks on this release. With subtle bottom and really nice piano and B3 by Limina, Earl takes it front and center with lush melodic guitar lead. Excellent! In Memory of T-Bone is a strong, T-Bone Walker "modeled" blues track with Earl interpreting T-Bone Walker's style and phrasing. With just a wisp of bass and drums and a carrier tune of keys, Earl just flat out plays the melody in fine style. Excellent! Diane Blue joins the mix for original track, Kismet, showing why she is the go to girl on many blues release. Her vocals are clean and powerful and a good balance for Earl's powerful dynamic style. Earl's emotional bends are pointed and precise, and his solo phrases succinct giving the track the sound of fine wine. Otis Rush's Double Trouble is certainly one of my favorite tracks on the release pushing the bar even higher with Blue's emotional vocals and Earl's incredible knack of squeezing every drop of sweat from his guitar. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, this track is stimulating from end to end. Excellent! R&B track made popular by Gladys Knight, Imagination, has a definite funky drive with a tight bass line and excellent vocals from Blue. Earl brings the pace down again on Blues for David Maxwell. Limina takes a long lush stroll on the piano leading up to Earl's incredibly soulful solo giving this track air for more than 8 minutes. Wow! On Eddy Arnold's jazz ballad, You Don't Know Me, Blue takes front and center again with strong support from Limina and Earl. There's plenty of room here for both Earl and Limina to take brief expressive solos of their own but this track is really all about Blue. Very nice! Kicking it up to a strong loping shuffle on Brojoe, Earl is back, front and center, with Limina on B3 pushing him all the way. Entress' tight drum work and walking bass work from Mouradian frame the work nicely with Earl shooting riff after riff. Smooth. Wrapping the release is Don Roby's ultra soulful, As The Years Go Passing By. This track has been given up by a lot of the best including Otis Rush, Albert King and Elvin Bishop and Earl's entry will certainly not go unnoticed. Blue handles the vocal lead with authority and Earl would be a certain candidate for top blues player today. This is an excellent closer for an excellent release!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters - Father's Day - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (July 17, 2015), Father's Day, from Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and it's terrific! I have to admit that I've always had a soft spot for Earl but these last two releases have been over the top. Opening with Otis Rush's It Takes Time with Michael Ledbetter on lead vocals, Earl lays down a super guitar shuffle supported strongly by Lorne Entress on drums, Jim Mouradian on bass and Dave Limina on B3. Excellent! Higher Love, another shuffle track has a deep almost drag which gives it a cool gait. Ledbetter shares vocals with Diane Blue and Earl plays classic guitar riffs over the sax work of Mario Perrett and Scott Shetler. Very nice! Another Rush tune, Right Place Wrong Time has excellent pace and Earl is squeezing out ever drop of blues from his strat from the opening intro. You may as well drop what you're doing right now... cause when you hear it... it will stop you in your tracks! Ledbetter is such a great choice of vocalists for this track and he really hits it! Excellent! Magic Sam's, What Have I Done Wrong,features Diane Blue on lead vocal and she has a super voice. This track struts and Earl is just as fresh as the first time I heard him with stinging, dripping riffs. Shetler really holds the bottom down on this track and Limina makes it glide on B3. Van McCoy's Giving Up is a huge soul tune with amazing dynamics compliments of Ledbetter on vocal. Earl coaxes the blues out of the track in the nicest possible way and Perrett blows a great sax solo. Absolutely brilliant! Fats Domino's Every Night About This Time is a super New Orleans style blues with a heavy kick. Ledbetter again carries the weight on vocals and Earl is absolutely on fire just kicking ass on guitar. Title track, Father's Day, has a slower pace with nice piano work from Limina. Clocking in at over 8 minutes, Ledbetter, Earl and Limina each take nice opportunities to enrich this track. Very nicely done! BB King's shuffle, I Need You So Bad, is up next and Ledbetter really hands tight on the King's thing. A cool B3 solo from Limina opens the soloing and Earl rides the groove nicely. Brook Benton's I'll Take Care Of You is up next and Diane Blue is excellent! Limina sets up a warm cushion of B3 for her to belt out the blues and she takes full advantage of it. Nicholas Tabarias put up a real nice guitar solo in the first of a series of solos on this 9 minute bluestravaganza. Limia is second on B3 doing an exceptional job as well leading up to Earl. Nicely phrased and quietly timed, this track cooks! Blue is back, sharing with Ledbetter lead vocals on funky, Follow Your Heart. Earl hits the strings with a plucky guitar solo leading back to the vocal duo and ultimately Tabarias again for a tight conclusion. Bobby Timmons jazz track, Moanin', is a fine swing style instrumental with classic Earl chording and really hot sax solos from Perrett and Shetler. Limina really gets the chance to break loose on this one laying out some really nice B3 work before turning over the floor to Earl. Earl really works it over needless to say, this being the only track of it's kind on the release and throws everything but the kitchen sink at it. Very cool! Another Magic Sam track, All Your Love, takes an absolute great road with Ledbetter on vocal and Earl playing crisp riffs in response to his vocal call. Limina takes a really sweet piano break on this one but as you might imagine, it's Earl that milks this one for all it's worth. Ledbetter's vocals just work so nicely with Earl's guitar work that they seem to feed each other. Excellent! Wrapping the release is Rev. Thomas Dorsey's Precious Lord. Diane Blue really shows the richness of her vocals supported by nicely stylized key work from Limina. Earl plays beautiful guitar work under the vocal work, ultimately coming to the top but still holding in quiet and respectful volume. This track is powerful and beautiful. This is an excellent release and one that I feel belongs in every modern blues lovers collection!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Guitar Master Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters Celebrate "Father's Day" with a New CD Coming July 17 on Stony Plain Records

Guitar Master Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters Celebrate Father’s Day with a New CD Coming July 17 on Stony Plain Records

EDMONTON, AB – Stony Plain Records proudly announces the release on July 17 of Father’s Day, the new CD from Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters. 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 adds another dimension to his sound. Stony Plain also plans to release the album as a vinyl LP later this year.

The 13 tracks on Father’s Day also feature two special guest vocalists throughout: Diane Blue, whose previous work with Earl created a sensation; and Chicago-based Michael Ledbetter, best known as lead singer of the Nick Moss band. Ledbetter is also a distant relative of the iconic Huddie William “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, whose 12-string blues style has influenced generations of blues, folk and rock musicians.
With this added vocal firepower, the new disc utilizes the two singers’ voices to great advantage on 12 tracks, the lone instrumental being Earl’s blues-ifying take of the Bobby Timmons’ jazz classic, “Moanin’.”

As always, the Ronnie Earl songbook dips mightily into several of his musical mentors on Father’s Day, with two songs each from Otis Rush (“It Takes Time” and “Right Place, Wrong Time”) and Magic Sam (“What Have I Done Wrong” and “All Your Love”). Earl’s bright guitar tones and patterns on these tracks perfectly illustrate the “West Side Sound” as exemplified by the two blues legends. He also tips his guitar to the late, great B.B. King on “I Need You So Bad;” drips soul on Van McCoy’s “Giving Up” and Brook Benton’s “I’ll Take Care of You;” and takes a side trip down to New Orleans on Fats Domino’s “Every Night About this Time.” He closes the CD by taking everyone to church on Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey’s gospel classic, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” On the original songs, Earl adds more soul into one of his early classics, “Follow Your Heart,” and speaks to the power of love and forgiveness in two new tunes: “Higher Love” and “Father's Day.”  

Throughout the new CD, Earl’s guitar work is simply stunning, as Living Blues magazine so eloquently stated in an earlier review: “Ronnie Earl is one of the most sensitive, refined and exquisite guitarists on the international blues scene.”    

On Father’s Day, he is joined once again by The Broadcasters (Lorne Entress – drums, Dave Limina – keyboards and Jim Mouradian – bass), his band of over 25 years, whose sound perfectly meshes together like a hand-in-glove. Produced by Earl and recorded at Wellspring Sound in Acton, Massachusetts, the album also features guest guitarists Nicholas Tabarias (who also worked on his last CD, Good News), Tim O’Connor and Larry Lusignan; as well as a horn section of Mario Perrett on tenor sax and Scott Shetler on baritone sax.

The Father’s Day packaging includes a photo of Ronnie’s dad reading a newspaper feature about his son and includes this dedication from Earl: “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.”

Any day a new Ronnie Earl album is released is cause for celebration, but on Father’s Day, he and the band truly create a new blues holiday.

Massachusetts-based Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters are booked exclusively world-wide by
The Kurland Agency (

For more information, visit and