J.P. Soars’ LET GO OF THE REINS was recorded during a whirlwind weeklong session at Tab Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou studios in Houma Louisiana. Versatility is on display here as Soars laid down his signature vocals and played electric guitar, acoustic guitar, dobro, Merlin Dulcimer, and two-string cigar box guitar while Benoit covered drums plus assorted pedal steel, background vocal and acoustic guitar tracks, Soars’ usual drummer Chris Peet played bass, and keyboard player Tillis Verdin laid down some tasty tracks on the Hamond B3.
The seven original songs and four choice covers span a wide range of styles. The album kicks off with a funky rockin’ blues version of J.B. Lenoir’s “Been Down So Long,” then follows with a Stones-y rock groove cover of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “If You Wanna Get To Heaven,” the up-tempo blues of “Freddie King Thing,” and the hypnotic, slide-powered stomp of the title track. The funky blues instrumental “Crow’s Nest” gives everyone some room to stretch out, while the ultra-smooth “Lonely Fire” provides a perfect setting for J.P.’s beautiful Latin-flavored acoustic guitar. The rocking “Have Mercy On My Soul” leads into the up-tempo country of “Let It Ride,” Django Reinhardt’s jazzy “Minor Blues,” and the bluesy R&B of “Time To Be Done.” The album closes with the relaxed folky feel of “Old Silver Bridge,” which brings in acoustic guitars, dobro, and dulcimer. This incredibly diverse set of songs is unified by J.P. Soars’ soulful, bluesy vocals and razor-sharp guitar work.
The inspiration for the album came from the many nights they all spent jamming into the wee hours on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise and the Big Blues Bender, and as expected, they captured many magical musical moments on this record.
In the decade since Soars burst upon the national scene by winning 1st place in the Blues Foundation’s 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN with his band the Red Hots (and was also crowned with the prestigious Albert King Award as best guitarist,) Arkansas native J.P. Soars has toured extensively through the United States, Canada, South America and Europe, and released an impressive catalog of powerful music.
In addition to his work with his own Red Hots, Soars has been part of the regional all-star blues act Southern Hospitality, also featuring Tampa vocalist/guitarist Damon Fowler and Memphis vocalist/keyboardist Victor Wainwright, plus Red Hots drummer Chris Peet and Wainwright’s bassist Terrance Grayson.
In 2019 Soars was nominated for the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Award in the Blues Rock category, alongside blues heavyweights Billy Gibbons, Eric Gales, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Tinsley Ellis.
J.P is soaring high, and psyched about the new record: “LET GO OF THE REINS was written and recorded very organically and honestly. We captured the moment, and what a spectacular and special moment it was. I hope you enjoy this record as much as we enjoyed making it.”
Release: JP Soars - LET GO OF THE REINS
Produced by Tab Benoit
Label: Whiskey Bayou Records