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Index of Artists

Ronnie Earl

Biography:

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Carrying an open heart in your life and your music:

A soulful guitarist releases his seventh album for Stony Plain

God bless Ronnie Earl. And, indeed, God has.

One of the most deeply emotional guitarists in the long storied history of the blues, he goes his own way, acknowledging those who came before, and encouraging those who are coming after.

In standard music industry terms, he is a bright and shining anomaly. He doesn’t show up on David Letterman or Jimmy Kimmel, he doesn’t play at rock and roll events, he rarely gives interviews, and he isn’t the slightest bit interested in what Joni Mitchell called the star-making machinery — except, whenever possible, to avoid it.

For many years, he’s played mostly in the Boston area, but now he is playing concerts and festivals across New England, the East Coast, and there’s a trip to Canada that’s set for the summer — and he’s working with Ted Kurland Associates, one of the best jazz agencies there is.

Ronnie Earl makes remarkable, memorable and deeply touching recordings, and his latest, Just for Today, may in fact be one for tomorrow, and generations to come.

It’s his seventh CD for Stony Plain, the international roots music label based in Edmonton, Alberta. Like the other albums, Just for Today is a varied mix of blues, soul and gospel instrumental pieces, all marked by his distinctive guitar style and the passionate conviction he brings to every track.

He is supported by The Broadcasters — Dave Limina (piano and Hammond B3), Jim Mouradian (bass) and Lorne Entress (drums) — who share the spotlight. More importantly, they are the rock on which Ronnie Earl can carve his subtle, forceful and sometimes incendiary guitar solos.

(Note should be made of two guests: Guitarist Nicholas Tabarias who joins in on two songs, and singer Diane Blue who earns rapturous applause for her version of “I’d Rather Go Blind.”)

A brief history

Ronnie Earl, who just turned 60, has been part of the music scene for many years. Deeply inspired by Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker and Otis Rush, he started to play guitar in the mid-70s. After spending time in Chicago and New Orleans, he joined Roomful of Blues; leaving the group in 1988, he moved on to build a solo career with his own band, The Broadcasters. Along the way, he went on to tour the world with Santana, sometimes playing for audiences of as many as 40,000 people.

I did all that for more than 25 years,” he says, “and nothing is better than one’s own home and one’s own family and friends. It makes me feel grounded. I have a wonderful wife, I’m close to our church, I live in the country and I want to be in my own home, every day.

That said, it is good to play, and I’m ready, now, to travel again once in a while, so I hope to be at the right kind of festivals in the near future.”

Just for Today

Ronnie Earl’s searing, deeply felt guitar playing permeates every one of the 13 tracks on his new record, but there are many other surprises and deep pleasures to be found. Nine of the pieces are originals, written or co-written by Earl. In addition to the single vocal — Diane Blue’s moving take on I’d Rather go Blind — there are sparkling tributes to two great fallen bluesmen: Hubert Sumlin and Robert Nighthawk. And Dave Limina’s piano-pounding showcase, Vernice’s Boogie is another highlight on an album full of surprises…

How the blues touches souls

Ronnie Earl is a thoughtful, gentle man — not always the attitude of many blues artists — and it is simply not in him to want to sound either arrogant or glib.

My greatest love in music is the blues; this is my ‘mother music.’ And I dig deep — I have no choice; playing, for me, is a very emotional experience. I put every particle of my soul into it.”

As for defining his style, he can’t. “I’m just trying to get into peoples’ souls,” he says. “I’m just trying to reach peoples’ humanity.”

With that in mind, just check the final line of his sleeve note on Just for Today. Words to live by:

Always carry hope and an open heart in your life. Don’t quit before the miracle happens.”

Just For Today

Just For Today
SPCD 1363
Genre: Blues
Released: 9 April 2013
An almost all-instrumental blues guitar release by one of the most acclaimed guitarists of our time. With The Broadcasters, his band of over 25 years, Ronnie's latest 'live' release shows him to be one of the most soulful blues/soul/jazz guitarists working today. He plays with spellbinding intensity and deep soul and has a legion of fans that await each new release. Ronnie is a two-time Blues Award winner as Guitarist Of The Year.
  1. The Big Train (5:26)
  2. Blues For Celie (9:32)
  3. Miracle (4:37)
  4. Heart Of Glass (6:58)
  5. Rush Hour (3:08)
  6. Vernice’s Boogie (3:32)
  7. Blues For Hubert Sumlin (8:31)
  8. Equinox (8:12)
  9. Ain’t Nobody’s Business (9:09)
  10. Robert Nighthawk Stomp (3:52)
  11. Jukein’ (4:45)
  12. I’d Rather Go Blind (6:08)
  13. Pastorale (6:06)

Reviews:

The Blues PowR Blog
By Mike Rick
"May just be the best instrumental blues album we've heard"

Spread The Love

Spread The Love
SPCD 1347
Genre: blues
Released: 24 August 2010
  1. Backstroke
  2. Blues For Dr. Donna (Listen to mp3 clip)
  3. Chitlins Con Carne
  4. Cristo Redentor (Listen to mp3 clip)
  5. Happy
  6. Patience
  7. Miracle
  8. Spann's Grove
  9. Skyman
  10. Blues For Slim
  11. Tommy's Midnight Blues
  12. Eleventh Step To Heaven
  13. Ethan's Song (Listen to mp3 clip)
    * free full length download *
  14. Blues For Bill

Reviews:

American Blues News
By Silver Michaels
Even within that impressive catalog of his, Spread The Love ranks as one of his best.

Living In The Light

Living In The Light
SPCD 1340
Genre: Blues
Released: 2 June 2009
  1. Love Love Love (8:47)
  2. S.O.S (9:04)
  3. Take A Little Walk With Me (7:34)
  4. River Charles Blues (5:46)
  5. What Can I Do For You (8:00)
  6. Recovery Blues (7:17)
  7. Blues For Fathead (3:40)
  8. Child Of A Survivor (9:28)
  9. Blues For The South Side (3:24)
  10. Ain't Nobody's Buisness (5:56)
  11. Donna Lee (5:30)
  12. Pastorale (3:47)

Reviews:

Toledo Blade
By T.H.
One of the more intensive, heartfelt blues albums released recently, this is a treasure deeply rooted in the soul and gospel. You'll get your soul nourished and come away with a little religion from this album, for sure.

Hope Radio Sessions DVD

Hope Radio Sessions DVD
SPDVD 1326
Genre: Blues
Released: 14 October 2008
  1. Intro (1:30)
  2. Bobby's Bop (6:01)
  3. Blues For The Homeless (8:02)
  4. Eddie's Gospel Groove (5:20)
  5. I Am With You (8:13)
  6. Kay My Dear (6:44)
  7. New Gospel Tune (4:26)
  8. Blues for Otis Rush (9:58)
  9. Blues for the West Side (8:42)
  10. Lightnin' Hopkins Thing (4:33)
  11. Interview (10:58)
  12. I Shall Not Be Moved (2:15)
    Note: This is a DVD disc, and will not work in a CD player.

Reviews:

The Alternate Root
By Reb Landers
With backing band The Broadcasters in tow, Earl moves through the ‘Hope Radio’ repertoire with spellbinding grace and ease even adding alternate arrangements to the set list. The intimacy of the small gathering allows Earl to shine and shine he does.

Hope Radio

Hope Radio
SPCD 1324
Genre: Blues
Released: 30 October 2007
  1. Eddie's Gospel Groove (Listen to mp3 clip) (5:07)
  2. Bobby's Bop (5:55)
  3. Blues For The West Side (8:48)
  4. I Am With You (8:15)
  5. Katrina Blues (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:35)
  6. Wolf Dance (8:07)
  7. Kay My Dear (6:39)
  8. Blues For The Homeless (8:32)
  9. Beautiful Child (Listen to mp3 clip) (8:45)
  10. Blues For Otis Rush (9:52)
  11. New Gospel Tune (4:40)

Reviews:

Penguin Eggs - Spring 2008
By Eric Thom
A front runner for this year's Top 10 list, Ronnie Earl has crafted one his best albums ever in Hope Radio. You'll not find a better way to spend 78 minutes. Promise.

The Duke Meets The Earl

The Duke Meets The Earl
SPCD 1303
Genre: Blues
Released: 8 March 2005
  1. West Side Shuffle (Listen to mp3 clip) (7:43)
  2. Two Bones & A Pick (Listen to mp3 clip) (8:06)
  3. My Tears (15:53)
  4. Looking For Trouble (6:42)
  5. What Have I Done Wrong (Listen to mp3 clip) (6:42)
  6. Zeb's Thing (7:27)
  7. I Need You So Bad (8:14)
  8. A Soul That's Been Abused (13:05)

Now My Soul

Now My Soul
SPCD 1298
Genre: Blues
Released: 1 June 2004
  1. Blues For J (7:10)
  2. Double Trouble (Listen to mp3 clip) (10:40) Featuring Kim Wilson
  3. Feel Like Goin On (6:40)
  4. Abandoned (7:16) Featuring Kim Wilson
  5. Walkin On The Sea (6:25)
  6. Black & White (5:59) Featuring Kim Wilson
  7. Kay My Dear (8:49)
  8. Maxwell, Mudcat, and Per (4:58)
  9. My Buddy Buddy Friends (3:43) Featuring Kim Wilson
  10. Walter Through Kim (5:09)
  11. #7 (5:49)
  12. The Magic Of Sam (3:50)

I Feel Like Goin' On

I Feel Like Goin
SPCD 1289
Genre: Blues
  1. Hey Jose (Listen to mp3 clip) (5:12)
  2. Blues For Otis Rush (8:29)
  3. Little Johnny Lee (6:33)
  4. Wolf Dance (6:23)
  5. Mary Don't You Weep (6:46)
  6. Howlin' For My Darlin' (7:44)
  7. Blues For The Homeless (11:21)
  8. Big Walter (5:35)
  9. Alone With The Blues (4:26)
  10. Travelin' Heavy (4:48)
  11. Donna (7:21)