Ronnie Earl And The Broadcasters
Stony Plain Records 2014
Review by David Bowling
Ronnie Earl has been playing the blues since he was a teenager. His nine year stint, 1979-1988, as the lead guitarist for Roomful Of Blues propelled him into the upper echelon of American electric guitar blues players. He has just released his 20th solo album and 8th for the Stony Plain label.
His back-up band, The Broadcasters, has been together for over a decade. Bassist Jim Mouradian, keyboardist Dave Limina, and drummer Lorne Entress are a competent and tight unit and form a solid foundation for Earl’s guitar work.
While Earl has more than a competent voice, he has always been more comfortable with instrumentals. The addition of vocalist Diane Blue on several tracks is a wise move and gives the songs an extra lift.
He co-wrote five of the ten tracks. Interestingly his compositions tend to be more structured and planned. He is a blues guitarist to the core and on such tracks as “Puddin’ Pie,” “Good News,” and “Marge’s Melody” have precise and energetic solos. The most creative of his compositions is “I Met Her On That Train,” where guest guitarists Zach Zunis and Nicholas Tabarias each take a solo before Earl finishes up.
Some of the cover songs give Earl more room to stretch out and improvise. At over ten minutes “in The We Hours” is a blues tour-de-force. Sam Cooke’s “Change Is Gonna Come” is moved over to a creative blues interpretation. “Six String Blessing” is a nine minute exploration of modern electric guitar based blues
Ronnie Earl has been plying his craft for close to four decades. Good News is another example of a craft well-learned.