Ronnie Earl - Hope Radio
Hope Radio is an all-instrumental gig that was recorded and filmed in front of a small audience. Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters have been at it for over twenty years, and their brand of polished white blues sure is popular. There is no denying the man’s chops; Earl can be fiery when he wants to be, especially when quoting his heroes. And his acoustic work on “Katrina Blues” is surprisingly biting and moving.
The problem here, as with all his records, is that the fiery side is too often on the fringes, in favor of a slick, laconic style that will Eric Clapton’s worst legacy. (I can understand him wanting to shed the “god” label, but did he have to deliberately water down his chops in favor of tepid pop-rock?) With the exception of “Katrina,” “Wolf Dance,” and “Blues for Otis Rush,” this eleven song set rocks gently and is sincerely, but it won’t make you look up from vacuuming or cooking to really pay attention. The blues as safe, if professional, background music just doesn’t cut it.
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