Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters
Good News

Stony Plain Recordings

By David Wilson
July 2014

If you like your blues smooth as butter and your Jazz mellow, have we got a recording for you.

Good News shows Ronnie Earl is still at the top of his game, one that has constantly provided him year after year, with industry awards, and more than that, fan loyalty. I presume that most of our readers are familiar with much of Ronnie’s career history considering that so much of it has happened in our backyard, but for those who don’t, here are a few historical facts.

Ronnie arrived here in the early ‘70s, pursuing a degree at Boston University. He attended classes at the Jazz Workshop as well as on campus and inspired by Muddy Waters turned what had been a passing interest in the guitar into his independent major. In a remarkably few years, he replaced Duke Robillard as lead with Roomful Of Blues, only to strike out on his own a while later and 25 years or so ago, put together the first Broadcasters band. The current configuration, with bass player, Jim Mouradian, keyboardist, Dave Limina and drummer Lorne Entress have been together for eleven years. It is clear that creatively, they all have their hands in the pockets of each other’s musical minds.

I experience the performances here as almost magical. The expression of each idea is precise and so intertwined with each other’s contribution as to appear seamless. Even the guests, guitarists Zach Zunis and Nicholas Tabarias are cradled and supported as if they had always played with the band. The adjective that constantly comes to my mind is melodic. Melody is constantly the primary core of their expression and it is diverse, presented in a parade of variations, each a perfectly natural evolution of what has passed before.

Starting with the anomalous “I Met Her On That Train”, with all three guitarists offering up tightly knit improvisational solos on to “Runnin’ In Peace”, the ending paean to victims and heroes of the marathon bombing with lyrics by Ilana Katz, Ronnie and the Broadcasters spill out one pearl after another.

Appearing as vocalist once again is Diane Blue and her take on the Sam Cooke classic, “Change Is Gonna Come” sent a jolt down my spine. Her brief accent appearances in the prolonged, almost eleven minute “In the Wee Hours” was ghostly and tantalizing. I want to hear a lot more of Diane Blue.

If you are open to a lyrical approach to an exploration of the blues form, free from frenetic thumping and twanging to no purpose, this is a treat of the very first order.

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