Stony Plain Records proudly announces the release on July 17 of Father’s Day, the new CD from Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters. Voted by The Blues Foundation as “Blues Guitarist of the Year” in 2014, guitar master Ronnie Earl and his band return with an even stronger package of music, his ninth album for the label. Added to Ronnie Earl’s spellbinding intensity and soulfulness on guitar, the presence of a horn section for the first time in decades on Father’s Day adds another dimension to his sound. Stony Plain also plans to release the album as a vinyl LP later this year.
The 13 tracks on Father’s Day also feature two special guest vocalists throughout: Diane Blue, whose previous work with Earl created a sensation; and Chicago-based Michael Ledbetter, best known as lead singer of the Nick Moss band. Ledbetter is also a distant relative of the iconic Huddie William “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, whose 12-string blues style has influenced generations of blues, folk and rock musicians.
With this added vocal firepower, the new disc utilizes the two singers’ voices to great advantage on 12 tracks, the lone instrumental being Earl’s blues-ifying take of the Bobby Timmons’ jazz classic, “Moanin’.”
As always, the Ronnie Earl songbook dips mightily into several of his musical mentors on Father’s Day, with two songs each from Otis Rush (“It Takes Time” and “Right Place, Wrong Time”) and Magic Sam (“What Have I Done Wrong” and “All Your Love”). Earl’s bright guitar tones and patterns on these tracks perfectly illustrate the “West Side Sound” as exemplified by the two blues legends. He also tips his guitar to the late, great B.B. King on “I Need You So Bad;” drips soul on Van McCoy’s “Giving Up” and Brook Benton’s “I’ll Take Care of You;” and takes a side trip down to New Orleans on Fats Domino’s “Every Night About this Time.” He closes the CD by taking everyone to church on Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey’s gospel classic, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” On the original songs, Earl adds more soul into one of his early classics, “Follow Your Heart,” and speaks to the power of love and forgiveness in two new tunes: “Higher Love” and “Father's Day.”
Throughout the new CD, Earl’s guitar work is simply stunning, as Living Blues magazine so eloquently stated in an earlier review: “Ronnie Earl is one of the most sensitive, refined and exquisite guitarists on the international blues scene.”
On Father’s Day, he is joined once again by The Broadcasters (Lorne Entress – drums, Dave Limina – keyboards and Jim Mouradian – bass), his band of over 25 years, whose sound perfectly meshes together like a hand-in-glove. Produced by Earl and recorded at Wellspring Sound in Acton, Massachusetts, the album also features guest guitarists Nicholas Tabarias (who also worked on his last CD, Good News), Tim O’Connor and Larry Lusignan; as well as a horn section of Mario Perrett on tenor sax and Scott Shetler on baritone sax.
The Father’s Day packaging includes a photo of Ronnie’s dad reading a newspaper feature about his son and includes this dedication from Earl: “This album is made for my beautiful father, and we came to peace in the end. Don’t ever give up on your family and don’t quit until the miracle happens.”
Any day a new Ronnie Earl album is released is cause for celebration, but on Father’s Day, he and the band truly create a new blues holiday.
Massachusetts-based Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters are booked exclusively world-wide by The Kurland Agency (http://www.thekurlandagency.com/).