Saturday, August 2, 2008

Review -- RONNIE EARL and the BROADCASTERS -- Hope Radio

HOPE RADIO
Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters
Stony Plain Records
8.5-out-of-10
Just how can you go wrong when you team Ronnie Earl, an accomplished blues guitarist, and a premier blues label such as Stony Plain Records?
Well, as Hope Radio is testament too, you simply can't go wrong.
Earl knows his way around a guitar and the blues about as well as anyone in the business today, and on this album he's at the height of his game.
The CD was recorded and filmed live (for a separate DVD) in the studio before an audience at Wellspring Sound in Acton, Mass in April of 2007. Hope Radio features 11 songs that showcase Earl backed by long-time members of The Broadcasters: Dave Limina – keyboards, Jim Mouradian – bass and Lorne Entress – drums. Guests include Michael “Mudcat” Ward on bass and piano and Nick Adams on second guitar.
As a live, instrumental album Earl lets himself go, exploring songs which often eclipse eight minutes as he let's the music take twists and turns, much to the delight of the listener.
The CD includes sweet renditions of songs such as Blues For The West Side, I Am With You, Wolf Dance and Beautiful Child. In total Earl offers up 11 of his own songs here, coming in at just more than 78 minutes of striking blues music. Wolf Dance is the best for an overall stellar selection.
While a blues album, there are jazz influences on cuts such as Bobby's Bop, and at time Earl's guitar talks with a rock voice.
A new song, Katrina Blues, features a rare solo acoustic guitar performance by Earl. The cut is one which has a ton of emotion as it is written for those who suffered in New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
Overall the variety simply adds to the depth of the experience of listening to this CD. Check it out at www.stonyplainrecords.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 30, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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