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Beyond The Blue Door

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters

Stony Plain 2019

Review by David Bowling

 

Calling all blues enthusiasts; Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters have returned with a new album. Beyond The Blue Door is a blues tour de force in that it smolders on the slow blues tracks and scintillates on the faster paced material.

Ronnie Earl, former guitarist for Blues Traveler and now three decades into his solo career, is a four time Blues Music Award winner. The Broadcasters include keyboardist Dave Limina, drummer Forret Padgett, bassist Paul Kochanski, and vocalist Diane Blue.

There are three classic soul songs that vocalist Diane Blue gets just right. Add in Earl’s blue guitar runs on “Brand New Me,” “Why Can’t We Live Together,” and “Drowning In The Sea Of Love” and you have performances that present a soul and blues fusion at its best.

Many times simple is best. Bob Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” has been recorded dozens and maybe hundreds of times. Here it is just Ronnie Earl and guest David Bromberg. It is a raw and basic take on this old song that gives it a new perspective. Possibly the best moments on the album occur on “Alexis’ Song” courtesy of the duet between Earl’s guitar and Greg Piccolo’s tenor saxophone.

Earl, like most elite guitarists, has a sound that is very recognizable. This is very apparent on slower blues numbers “Baby How Long” and “Blues With A Feeling.” the clarity of his impeccable technique is clearly on display.

A new album by Ronnie Earl is always a cause for celebration. Beyond The Blue Door is one of his most soulful releases. It is modern day blues at its best.

Rating: ****