Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Spread the Love" - Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters (Stony Plain Records)

By Malcolm Kennedy 

Spread The Love
Some folks think of Ronnie Earl as being to jazzy or that an album of instrumentals is too much; but for me Ronnie’s guitar playing speaks volumes. When the fat, stinging guitar and B-3 come in on the first seconds of the opening track, Albert Collin’s “Backstroke,” a mid paced blues shuffle, I knew I was in for a fantastic ride.

The follow up, “Blues For Dr. Donna” is a languid front porch affair with minimal accompaniment. Ronnie’s jazzy take on Kenny Burrell’s “Chitlins Con Carne", made famous to most through Stevie Ray Vaughan, adds a whole new dimension to this classic tune. The same can be said of his slow and reverently soulful approach to Duke Pearson’s “Christo Redentor” brought to my ears by way of Charlie Musselwhite. The subtle, quiet organ work by Dave Limina provides the structure for Ronnie to layer the voice of his guitar onto. Eleven of the generous 14 tracks are originals with Limina and drummer Lorne Entress each contributing one.

“Miracles” with it’s soaring and searing guitar lines reminds of something Santana would play. I think Otis would approve the way Dave tinkles the ivories on his tribute “Spann’s Groove.” Other standouts for me are “Blues For Slim” with Ronnie’s fluid playing and the jazzy “Ethan’s Song” with the B-3 adding to the groove. At the end of the acknowledgements in the liner notes Ronnie writes “Be kind. We need more love and forgiveness. Don’t give up hope before the miracle happens! Love, Ronnie. A heartfelt sentiment from this truly phenomenal artist, Very highly recommended.

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