The blues have proven to be a most durable musical genre. They are also quite fertile and productive, providing the basis for infinite interpretation. This is good and bad. It is good for all of the exceptional music that has been made atop the rugged 12-bar harmonic structure. It is bad for all of the bad music heaped atop the same. Regardless of what the record industry says, things can's be so bad when we have such a fortune of both kinds of recordings.
Strings-master JP Soars digs deep, unearthing a voice similar to one Chester Burnett on his opening original, "Full Moon Night in Memphis." His guitar style is dense in the tradition, summoning every note and tone played in the last 50 years. "Back to Broke" finds Soars playing squeaky-clean Steve Cropper over the B-3 waves created by Mark Leach.
On "Makes No Sense" Soars adopts and Johnny and Santo guitar sound, pounding out block chords and octaves like Wes Montgomery. Soars is not an empty suit of technique. He is, instead, a studied practitioner of the guitar arts, and he demonstrates this on the standards and original brought together on this recording.
A blues chameleon, Soars plumbs the depths of blues-rock on "Something Ain't Right" while re-creating some cute Americana on "Reefer Man," where he recasts the song as a western-swing jump blues with a heaping side of Now Orleans. The related "Viper" is given a deeper New Orleans treatment, Soars playing acoustic guitar.
But, it is this point that an otherwise decent recording gets really interesting. "The Road has Got Me Down" is an East Texas drunk ballad about too much travel and running. "Lil' Mamacita" is sharply Tex-Mex, with Soars planting his spear squarely south-of-the-border. The closer, "Missin' Your Kissin'" is more Asleep at the Wheel than Bob Wills, but that is okay. Music this well delivered is a welcome gift.
Full Moon Night in Memphis; back to Broke; Makes no Sense; Something Ain’t Right; Mean Old World; Savin’ All My Lovin’; Reefer Man; Way back Home; The Back Room; Thorn in my Side; Viper; The Road Has Got Me Down; Lil’ Mamacita; Missin’ Your Kissin’.
JP Soars: guitars, vocals; Chris Peet: drums, percussion; Todd Edmunds: basses; Terry Hanck: tenor saxophone (14); Scot Ankron: baritone saqxophone (7), clarinet (11); Chaim Rubinov: Trumpet (7, 11); Brandon Santini: harmonica (1, 12) mark Leach: Hammond B3 (2, 9, 10); Steve Laudicine: guitar (6); Raul Hernandez: percussion (4, 13); Teresa James, Pat Ward, Allie Balducci, Joseph Bloom: backing vocals.
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