JP Soars

JP Soars
Back Of My Mind

Self produced, Soars High Productions

By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
July 2009

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This could very well be one of the easiest reviews I've ever had to do. As a matter of fact, it could very well be one of the shortest. It doesn't take a whole lot of creativity, or space, to tell you that at this yearís International Blues Challenge in Memphis, J.P. Soars & The Red Hots were awarded the prestigious first-place award and, individually, Soars received the Albert King Award as the competitionís best guitar player. That alone should have you leaving here right now and going straight to the band's website for the disc.

For the few still here, I'll go ahead and tell you more.

On Back Of My Mind, guitarist and vocalist Soars is joined by Gary Rimmington on electric and upright bass, and Chris Peet on Drums. Together, this trio makes up J P Soars And The Red Hots. Other musicians on the project include: A J Kelly on bass, Terry Hanck on saxophone, Billy Burns on harmonica, Greg Kingsolver on piano, John Epstein on Hammond organ, and Guillermo Lojo on backup vocals.

One of several originals on the disc is the opening track titled, “Born In California, Raised In Arkansas.” The lyrics tell of a geographical path, and give a brief biography of the early Soars years. The other story it tells is that J P can sing and tear it up on guitar.

“A Letter To My Girlfriend” had me stifled in a way. A way in which, because of snappin' my fingers, tappin' my feet and constantly hitting replay, I couldn't get this paragraph done. The band was in such a groove on this one that I needed a lot more than the songís two-and-a -half minutes. Kelly and Peet were in a zone on rhythm, Hanck's sax blowin' was sharp, and J P had me in a trance with his vocals. Surely one of the discís best right here.

The “Gypsy Woman” told J P: “You your mother's bad-luck child.” What she told me was that it's this kind of stuff that won J P the Albert King Award. It could very well be the best cover of this Muddy tune that this listener has ever heard. J P is remarkable - both vocally and musically, Hanck nails the slow, sultry sax notes; and the rhythm guys, led by very steady organ from Epstein, are in a real smooth groove.

More good stuff here.

“Call My Baby,” another Soars original, has him sounding like a young Howlin' Wolf on vocals. This is a voice designed and destined to sing the blues.

“Low Dirty Deal” is a fast - and I mean a real fast paced - smoker. Peet and Kelly are sluggin' it out while creating some of the discís best rhythm work. Kingsolverís getting in on the fast action with a few piano highlights, and J P -well he's doin' his usual ass kickin' on guitar.

Although he only appears on a very few tracks, Burns makes up for lost time with some nice harp work on this one. Ditto for Kingsolver with a good job on piano here as well. Red Hots regular, Rimmington, has got the bottom covered with some nice sound comin' out of that big bass, and Soars does a great job of singing about the evils of that vicious drug - and the title of the song Ė “Cocaine.”

Other tracks on Back Of My Mind include: “29 Ways,” “Will I Ever,” “Gangster Of Love,” “Been Down So Long,” “Baby I Used to Love You,” and “Blue Drag.”

One of the rewards for winning the International Blues Challenge is that your band gets booked at some of the better blues festivals around the country. That's not just a wonderful opportunity for the band, it's one for some of you as well. Keep your eyes open, because J P Soars will be soaring your way sometime soon. Make sure you catch him.

Editorís note: Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro of Florida is the blues editor of www.Mary4Music.com, and a contributing writer to Blueswax, a weekly blues e-zine. He provides blues societies around the country with complimentary CD reviews. He is also affiliated with: The Blues Foundation, Music Maker Relief Foundation, Ft. Pierce Jazz & Blues Society, South Florida Blues Society, Brevard County Blues Society, Orange Blossom Blues Society, Ancient City Blues Society, Blues Alliance of the Treasure Coast, and Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation.

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