Ronnie Earl - Living In The Light
This is the one to start with if you are new to Ronnie Earl. He has been getting love from critics and fans for decades, but so much of his work, like that Duke Robillard or Robert Cray, has seemed to belong to a too-slick, session-man makes good blues that is high on chops but low on passion. "Living in the Light," then, in a shock, at least to me. Earl plays with a soulful fire that recalls Stevie Ray Vaughn or Albert King.
Unlike last year's "Hope Radio," an instrumental outing that displayed technique but little imagination, there is a grit and energy to these songs that guitar fans will sit up over many a lick. The opener, "Love Love Love" is an Earl original, and guest vocalist Dave Keller delivers the lyrics with gusto. But it is the passion of the raw guitar that takes the track to the level it reaches.
Likewise, "What Can I Do For You," Robert Lockwood's "Take A Little Walk With Me" also feature soulful guitar that matches easily the grit of the vocals (the latter is sung by Kim Wilson). "Blues For The Southside" and the instrumental "S.O.S." are pure scorchers.
Ronnie Earl has recently stuck his finger in a socket or been visited by some Chicago ghost, because his work on "Living in the Light" is the most passionate and authentic release I've heard from him. For once he matches his abilities to his heart and lets it rip. And he rips it UP.
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