Ronnie Earl review…April 12, 2013…

RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS

JUST FOR TODAY

STONY PLAIN RECORDS  SPCD 1363

THE BIG TRAIN–BLUES FOR CELIE–MIRACLE–HEART OF GLASS–RUSH HOUR–VERNICE’S BOOGIE–BLUES FOR HUBERT SUMLIN-EQUINOX–AIN’T NOBODY’S BUSINESS–ROBERT NIGHTHAWK STOMP–JUKEIN’–I’D RATHER GO BLIND–PASTORALE

 

To celebrate twenty-five years as a band, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters have just released their seventh album for Stony Plain, entitled “Just For Today.”  It encompasses thirteen cuts, ten of which are band originals, and was recorded live at three venues in Ronnie’s home state of Massachusetts, namely The Regent Theater, The Natick Center For The Arts, and The Narrows Center For The Arts.  Joining Ronnie are long-time bandmates Lorne Entress on drums, Dave Limina on keys, and Jim Mouradian on bass.  Nicholas Tabarias adds guitar on two cuts, and vocalist Diane Blue gives a brilliant read of “I’d Rather Go Blind.”

 

This set is, however, predominantly an instrumental exercise, showcasing the talents of Ronnie and his band.  The audiences are appreciative, and tuned in to what these guys are all about, and, as one listens and absorbs the music herein, it is readily evident that Ronnie’s guitar IS the vocalist.  He pulls so much soul, passion, and energy from each note that a true vocal presence is unnecessary.  Just check out the slow-burn of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”–if you know the words, you can sing right along with Ronnie’s guitar and never miss a beat.

He also has an uncanny musical knack for capturing the styles of his mentors and turning them into his own creations.  Listen to the country-blues shuffle of the “Robert Nighthawk Stomp,” and the West Side groove of a tribute to Otis Rush, “Rush Hour.”  It features guitar from Nicholas Tabarias, and just gets to swingin’ before ending way too soon.  Ronnie’s affinity for jazz progreassions are also duly noted in a sophisticated take on John Coltrane’s “Equinox.”  Both “Miracle” and the set-closing “Pastorale” remind us that we live in a world of harsh realities, and we should never give up hope.

With “Just For Today,” Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters remain a competitive, vital force in contemporary blues, cementing their past while forging what promises to be a fantastic future!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

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