Although Ronnie Earl already has many recording session behind him over several decades as a performer, Now My Soul
is my introduction to the talent of the Boston bluesman. Inspired by T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters and Otis Rush, Ronnie Earl spent eight years with Roomful Of Blues
replacing Duke Robillard. The guitarist has won a couple of W.C. Handy Blues Awards in the category Blues Guitarist of the Year
The new release for Canada’s Stony Plain Records
holds treasures for both jazz and blues enthusiasts. The first track, Blues For J
was penned by jazz organist Jimmy Smith
and featured on his memorable album The Ultimate Jimmy Smith
. Ronnie Earl and his keyboard companion, Dave Limina handle the classic tune with style and ease. The impressive Kim Wilson
provides several vocal tracks and lends his particular brand of harp wizardry to the album. Someone once called Kim Wilson "the Charlie Parker of the harmonica" and while that may be an overstatement, it is very close to the truth.
It’s a pity that Ronnie Earl plays only in the Boston area and touring is no longer a part of his plans. Fans living elsewhere are only able to hear this highly emotional guitarist on CD. The new CD is aptly titled. Now My Soul
is an outpouring of emotion. My two favorites are Ronnie Earl originals, Kay My Dear
and a fine "protest song" Black & White
. The latter features a Kim Wilson vocal and the lyrics are awesome.
If you are a longtime fan of Ronnie Earl, you already know what a fine player he is. On the other hand, if you are not familiar with his music and think you’ve heard all the great bluesmen, you are missing a gem of a guitarist. Highly recommended!