Ronnie Earl - Hope Radio

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Ronnie Earl - Hope Radio

Postby blueswriter » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:31 pm

Ronnie Earl And The Broadcasters
Hope Radio
Stony Plain (2007) SPCD 1324


11 tracks, 78 minutes. Highly recommended. It's doubtful that there's any praise of Ronnie Earl remaining that hasn't already been uttered in one form or another by fans or music critics the world over. While he has always been quick to point listeners in the direction of those who influenced him, Mr. Horvath has clearly forged a signature guitar style of his own that can't, and shouldn’t be, mistaken for anyone else's. Traces of the three Kings, Otis Rush, T-Bone Walker, Wes Montgomery and many others have appeared in Earl's recorded catalog over the years, but Ronnie is one of a very small number of guitarists who has crafted an uncanny ability to actually speak through his instrument. Hope Radio was recorded ‘live’ (and filmed for a future DVD release) in front of a small but appreciative crowd at Wellspring Sound, an off-the-beaten-path New England studio which Earl seems to have adopted as his second home. While his previous studio outings have never sounded antiseptic and mushy, the clarity present in this latest latest offering is simply astounding. And for a man who uses dynamics better than anyone else that comes to mind currently, that clarity bodes well for listeners. The lineup of The Broadcasters hasn’t changed over the last few discs so Dave Limina, Jim Mouradian and Lorne Entress return on keys, bass and drums respectively. Mudcat Ward also guests on acoustic bass and piano with Nick Adams helping out on the smoldering Blues For Otis Rush, a ten-minute slow-burner that runs the gamut from a low sizzle to a crackling, roaring fire with all the necessary heat of a wood-fired Southern barbecue. Eddie’s Gospel Groove is a stirring opener while Bobby’s Bop sits comfortably in a jazz/blues bag, and Blues For The West Side is as rugged-and-battered as Magic Sam’s old Stratocaster, and includes a breathtaking key change just before one of Ronnie’s trademark crescendos that closes the track. Earl's Kay My Dear, Wolf Dance and Blues For The Homeless are revisited, and although these three titles will be familiar to longtime fans, Ronnie’s guitar efforts aren't rehashed - he's brilliantly creative here and throughout the CD. While many of us lament a lengthy absence on the club and festival circuit, Ronnie Earl And The Broadcasters deliver a lasting gift in the form of this wonderful ‘live’ set that’s as soothing as a cool Georgia breeze in July as much as it reminds one of a ferocious February in Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods.

Stony Plain Records

© 2008 by Craig Ruskey
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