JP Soars review…June 27, 2018…

JP SOARS

SOUTHBOUND I-95

SOARS HIGH PRODUCTIONS  SHP-005

AIN’T NO DANIA BEACH–SURE AS HELL AIN’T FOOLIN’ ME–SOUTHBOUND I-95–SHINING THROUGH THE DARK–THE GRASS AIN’T ALWAYS GREENER–ARKANSAS PORCH PARTY–SATISFY MY SOUL–BORN IN CALIFORNIA–WHEN YOU WALK OUT THAT DOOR–DEEP DOWN IN FLORIDA–ACROSS THE DESERT–DOG CATCHER–TROUBLED WATERS–GO WITH THE FLOW–SURE AS HELL AIN’T FOOLIN’ ME (RADIO EDIT)

JP Soars has won both the IBC competition, and the prestigious Albert King Award given to the outstanding guitarist during the course of the Challenge.  He’s also played with the greats of the genre’ on the Legendary Rhythm And Blues Cruise and, more recently, The Big Blues Bender out in Vegas.  He was born in California and raised up in Arkansas, and moved deep down in South Florida in 1985.  He and some of his best friends went down to Ft. Lauderdale to Studio 13 and laid down fifteen of the most varied shades of the blues you could imagine, “Southbound I-95.”

This set is varied, indeed, given JP’s numerous musical influences, including Muddy, Santana, Albert King, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Pete Fountain, Metallica, and Van Halen, as well as countless others, and you can hear ’em all scattered throughout this exhilarating set, thirteen originals and two covers, all held together by JP’s soulful vocals and dazzling guitar work.  Now, JP don’t take no mess, especially from people with their “fake-ass smiles” who “Sure As Hell Ain’t Foolin’ Me,” which is revisited as the set-closer in a much cleaner, more FCC-ok version.  The title cut rocks with joyous abandon, as the surf’s up on I-95, with twangin’ guitar leading the charge.  Terry Hanck is on the breezy, summertime-ish tenor sax on “Shining Through The Dark,” while JP’s slide roots run deep on his autobiographical tale of being one of seven children “Born In California and raised in Arkansas.”

JP’s instrumental compositions are brilliant, also.  The venerable Lee Oskar adds harp on “Across The Desert,” while “Arkansas Porch Party” has an old-time camp meetin’ groove.  Perhaps the most unique of all was one of our favorites.  Virtually all of JP’s influences are on display on “Go With The Flow,” including an Eastern touch, with “setar” from Reza Filsoofi.  Our other favorite was the uniquely-arranged “Deep Down In Florida,” presented here in an almost-second-line parade, with another “old friend of mine,” Albert Castiglia, on vocal and guitar.

The versatility of JP Soars has served him well since his IBC days, and this set carries it on.  Pack up the van, hit the road, and crank up “Southbound I-95!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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