Ronnie Earl, one of my guitar heroes and perhaps the definitive answer to the oft-asked question "Who Is The Greatest Guitarist Alive," will release the follow-up to his amazing, acclaimed Spread The Love when he releases Just For Today on April 9 via Stony Plain Records.
Just For Tonight is a live album taken from two shows with his band The Broadcasters recorded in Massachusetts last year. The Broadcasters are drummer Lorne Entress, piano and organist Dave Limina, and bassist Jim Mouradian. The Broadcasters are joined by a guest vocalist, Diane Blue, and Nicholas Tabarias does a turn as a guest guitarist on the set as well.
I don't have the complete tracklisting for the upcoming album but it has been tipped that Earl and his mates cover John Coltrane's "Equinox," standards "Ain't Nobody's Business" and "I'd Rather Go Blind," the latter a classic perfected by the great Etta James, and a host of originals. Some of those originals allow him to pay tribute to his inspirations and mentors such as Robert Nighthawk, Hubert Sumlin, and my personal favorite, Otis Rush.
Rush inspired many and scores of guitarists have and continue to perform his songs, repeating his phrases and notes (and the same is true for Nighthawk and Sumlin). Earl goes so much deeper. He doesn't play respectful or timid covers of their songs and licks but instead channels their spirit and composes new songs in which he brings to life the unmistakable sounds and styles that made these influential men distinct.
He also performs original compositions that demonstrate his own style, perfected over decades of playing alongside many of the greatest musicians of all time. Earl is a master of tone and technique but what separates him is his unique, unparalleled ability to create wordless poetry with his guitar, translating deep, stirring emotion into sounds with eloquence and elegance. If you've somehow never heard Earl play, check out this video of a great performance with he and fellow guitar maestro Nick Moss recorded at a recent show.
So yeah, this is an album excited to hear and goes soaring near the top of the list of most anticipated records of 2013. We'll update the complete tracklisting and other details of the record when we can and continue to hope Earl and his Broadcasters find their way to a fine Nashville establishment one day very, very soon. I may have to spearhead one of those Kickstarter campaigns to get him on stage at Ryman Auditorium so his perfect tone can fill the halls of the most acoustically perfect venue in America. That, kids, would be a show to remember and commemorate with another live recording. In the meantime, we'll have Just For Today.