Ronnie Earl

Healing Time

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Guitarist Ronnie Earl continues his string of all instrumental albums with this stunning follow-up to 1997's critically acclaimed The Colour of Love. With sturdy yet subtle assistance from Anthony Geraci on keyboards, Mark Greenberg or Don Williams on drums, Michael "Mudcat" Ward on bass, and, for two tracks, special guest Jimmy McGriff handling the Hammond B-3 in his inimitable fashion, Earl peels off sweet and spicy jazz-blues-gospel licks with the touch of a musician whose heart and soul is intimately infused in his music.

Earl's love of Muddy Waters shines on a sizzling cover of "Catfish Blues" where his guitar alternately screams and moans through the stop-start rhythm of the song as if it's singing the lyrics. But this is primarily a jazz album with a heavy blues influence, and Earl's Kenny Burrell and Grant Green roots are pervasive throughout. His tensile tone ranges from tender and sensitive to biting and majestic, with touches of Carlos Santana's unique phrasing thrown in. Whether digging deep into the achingly soulful slow groove of "Blues for Shawn" or closing out the album with a rapturous "Amazing Grace," Ronnie Earl proves himself to be a master of moods. Healing Time effectively moves him into the realm of the guitar greats he idolizes.

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