Thursday, August 13, 2015


There's a touching and powerful back story to the title cut on Earl's new album.  He'd been estranged from his own father over the years, an Auschwitz survivor named Jerry Horvath.  But they made their amends on Father's Day of 2014, shortly before Horvath passed away. 

That inspired Earl to write the cut, which advises everyone that time is getting short, and asks if you can be the generous one to make peace.  The slow blues doesn't say much more, and doesn't need to, it's a powerful statement about the importance of healing.

Elsewhere on the new album, Earl pays tribute to his other fathers, blues greats who have inspired him to continue the tradition.  There are a couple of Otis Rush, two more from Magic Sam, and one from B.B., along with the three originals from Earl.  He takes care of the guitar work; in the vocal booth are two strong guest singers for the album, Diane Blue and Michael Ledbetter.  Both have classic voices along the soul line, and the songs are divided up for each ones' strengths, Ledbetter getting perhaps the grittier numbers, although both can belt.  This is a terrific move.  Let the talented singers take the microphone, while Earl can concentrate on the best guitar lines.

As always with an album from Earl, that's the big highlight.  His soloing is never an exercise in playing fast, with too many notes, he's always precise and in control.  But what sting, what tone.  He's putting everything into each note, and is the embodiment of the guitar player's maxim that it's not how many notes you play, but which ones.

It's a wide-ranging collection as well.  Earl's take on the Art Blakey jazz instrumental Moanin' shows the band knows how to swing with style.  Both Earl and B3 player Dave Limina carry off tasty solos, Earl cheekily quoting from Fever at one point.  The gang brings the same touch to the spiritual Precious Lord, a showcase for Diane Blue's gospel roots, with more dramatic, ringing notes from Earl.  Father would have been proud.

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