Mercy Me

Ronnie Earl And The Broadcasters

Stony Plain Records, 2022

REVIEW BY: Max Kaplan


Ronnie Earl: it’s a name familiar to any blues historian, which, as a white, non-singing guitar player who most consider to have missed the first, second, and third waves of the blues, is a statement not to be taken lightly. Earl was once quoted as saying, “A Stratocaster and a super reverb is a match made in heaven.” Research bears this out, yet its true potential is only revealed when in the hands of a true Stratocaster player. Earl fits this description perfectly, as he has not only mastered the sound of the instrument, but taken it to new heights and chiseled a spot for his name in the canon of Stratocaster players. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With Mercy Me, Earl delivers crystal clear communication of the blues through mediums other than his scorching guitar that blues lovers have come to love. The song choice, for one, is diverse. On tracks like “Alabama,” Earl shows his range, with a dream-like rainy ballad of dark proportions warming the ear drums throughout. On “Blues For Ruthie Foster,” Ronnie entices the listener by whispering sweet wonders into the space ahead of him with his acoustic guitar. Of course, no Ronnie Earl album would be complete without a masterclass in slow-blues in the form of “Blues for Duke Robillard.” Anytime Ronnie is given six eighth notes in a bar to work with, the result is blues magic. The first single off the album, “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)” presents a scenario in which a Jackie Wilson classic gets reworked with Earl’s tones filling the gaps just where they ought to.

Of course, most fanatics of the blues will be able to recall any number performances when presented with the name of Ronnie Earl. However, with this new album Mercy Me, Earl introduces the possibility of attracting a new, hungrier audience who haven’t been satisfied with the blues they’ve heard yet, whether that be in pop music, soul music, or beyond. Earl’s sounds are digestible, relatable, and seemingly fresh. His guitar is familiar, yet completely different.

Rating: B

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© 2022 Max Kaplan and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Stony Plain Records, and is used for informational purposes only.