Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters release The Luckiest Man

Multi-award winning guitarist Ronnie Earl is back with his band The Broadcasters and latest release The Luckiest Man presents ‘ an unwavering resolve to live with faith and gratitude ‘ according to the man himself. 12 tracks of super cool, with a homage to much-missed bassist Jim Mouradian, who sadly passed away after a show in January 2017.

Things kick off with the suave ‘Ain’t That Loving You’ and we’re in familiar shuffle territory, with a gorgeous vocal from Diane Blue ( an apt surname) and driving B3 from Dave Limina. ‘The Luckiest Man’ sees Ronnie reunited with many of the first Broadcasters who appeared on the early albums way back in 1983, some of whom ( Sugar Ray Norcia and Mike Welch anyone? ) have now become recognisable names in the blues world.

It’s Ronnie though that leads, guides and inspires, a champion of the traditional and oozer of taste and tone. Less is more on instrumental ‘Southside Stomp’ but who wants more when you have all you need right here.

The sublime ‘Death Don’t Have No Mercy’ takes us down to Deep South, with a gospel, swampy, sultry vocal and a haunting resonator/electric guitar double act. You can feel the heat and humidity coupled with the suffering and pain, though uplifting and freeing rather than depressive and closed in.
On ‘Jim’s Song’, a solo guitar instrumental, Ronnie pays poignant respect to his brother, using the piece as both a tribute and a healing, a common theme throughout the album. Through loss comes grief, through grief comes music, through music comes healing.

A grinding Hammond somehow makes the story of ‘Heartbreak (It’s Hurtin Me )’seem joyous. Matched with Earl’s octave led solo this is one foot tappin’ swinging heartbreak designed again as a tonic to ease the pain. This song will surely shine on a live stage with the interplay between
organ and guitar. We break away from the shuffles momentarily with ‘Never Gonna Break My Faith’. A stunning gospel vocal from Diane Blue once more, which, perhaps for this listener could have been allowed to breathe a little instead of having to fight the lead guitar. Ultimately balance is restored by the B3 and Mr Earl makes amends with restraint in the closing solo.

‘ The Luckiest Man’s’ piece de resistance, at 10 minutes long is minor blues ‘Long Lost Conversation’. A showcase of the tight and perfect production plus harp/vocal of Sugar Ray Norcia, that sends the shivers down the spine if listened to in a dark room ( try it! ). This is how a minor key blues should be, smoky vocal, barrelhouse piano, haunting harp and soothing but soaring guitar.

A soulful feel on ‘ Sweet Miss Vee’ brings back the good vibes, although a vocal might have made this a great song rather than a pleasing instrumental. Two more ‘nods of the hat’ next, one to Magic Sam, on ‘Blues For Magic Sam’ followed by Otis Rush’s ‘So Many Roads’, which lacks the bite of the man himself but still manages to prove that one note says more than ten every time. Things are rounded off very nicely with ‘ You Don’t Know What Love Is’. Again, all hail Diane Blue who makes a very difficult vocal seem effortless and beautiful.

‘The Luckiest Man’ is a mature, seasoned craftsman at work, surrounded by a talented and respectful group of musicians, all with one goal – to play heartfelt traditional blues and drown sorrows, heal wounds and get that foot tapping at the same time. Not for everyone but a perfect companion to a 3 am drive. Sophisticated and sassy.

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters – The Luckiest Man – Stony Plain Records

Pendragon for Bluesdoodles give ‘The Luckiest Man’ a polished

Sevenpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

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Tracklisting

  1. Ain’t That Lovin’ You
  2. Southside Stomp
  3. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
  4. Jim’s Song
  5. Heartbreak (It’s Hurting Me)
  6. Howlin’ Blues
  7. Never Gonna Break My Faith
  8. Long Lost Conversation
  9. Sweet Miss Vee
  10. Blues for Magic Sam
  11. So Many Roads
  12. You Don’t Know What Love Is

Musicians
Ronnie Earl – Guitar
Dave Limina – Piano & Hammond B3
Diane Blue – Vocals
Ferrest Padgett – Drums
Paul Kochanski – Bass
Guest Musicians
Nicholas Tabarias – Guitar
Mark Earley – Baritone Sax
Marie Perrett – Tenor Sax
Peter Ward – Guitar
Michael “Mudcat” Ward – Double Bass & Fender Bass

On Long Lost Conversation
Sugar Ray Norcia – Vocals & Harp
Anthony Geraci -Piano
Mike Weltch – Guitar
Neil Gouvin – Drums
Michael “Mudcat” Ward – Double Bass & Fender Bass

Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters release The Luckiest Man

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