Former Roomful of Blues lead guitarist Ronnie Earl and his backing unit, the Broadcasters, teach a defining class in the healing power of jazz and blues throughout the Hope Radio Sessions DVD. Earl has an illustrious career, spanning the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. In 1993, he changed direction by going towards an all instrumental approach on the records Language of the Soul, Blues Guitar Virtuoso Live in Europe and Grateful Heart: Blues and Ballads.
On Hope Radio,Earl secured the facilities of Wellspring Sound Acton in Massachusetts to film a two night blowout of gospel rhythm and blues before a select audience of admirers. Having traveled the long road with Jimmie Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Robert Lockwood Jr., Earl illuminates his past in an interview conducted by Holger Petersen. But it is his stretching dynamics on guitar that continue to stun the masses via the first night gems "Blues for the Homeless" and "Eddie’s Gospel Groove."
The Broadcasters, a consistently thrilling combo to view and hear, push Earl on successive sets, as drummer Lorne Entress, keyboardist Dave Limina and bassist Jimmy Mouradian stretch boundless drops of improvisation into soul searching grooves. They are aided by special guests’ Nick Adams on guitar and Michael "Mudcat" Ward on upright bass and piano. But, the proof is in the pudding, and Earl slams it down hard on the second night, expressing through his instrument major shifts in amplification and tone on "Blues For Otis Rush" and "Blues for the West Side."
Listeners of Earl’s recent discs – The Duke Meets the Earl and Now My Soul– recognize him as a supreme artist and master of emotionally wrenching masterpieces filled with call and response jazz and blues and occasional forays into distortion and reverb. Now, thanks to Hope Radio Sessions DVD, the world can finally join in and view the magic and majesty that exists on a double performance video with Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. It’s more than worth the price of admission.
Hope Radio Sessions is out now on Stony Plain Records.