Ronnie Earl, a four-time Blues Music Award winner as Guitar Player of the Year, follows up the critical and commercial success of his last album Rise Up with Mercy Me, a new set of wondrous music with his long-time band The Broadcasters, on April 15 via Stony Plain Records. Mercy Me will also be released later this summer on vinyl LP.
Mercy Me is Earl’s 14th album with Stony Plain and his 28th career album. The 12-song release features Dave Limina on piano and Hammond B3, Diane Blue on vocals, Forrest Padgett on drums, Paul Kochanski on electric and upright bass, all backing Earl’s amazingly soulful guitar work. Guest musicians include Anthony Geraci, piano; Mark Earley, baritone sax; Mario Perrett, tenor sax; Peter Ward, guitar; and Tess Ferraiolo, vocals. The album was produced by Ronnie Earl, recorded and mixed by Huck Bennert and mastered at Sound Mirror Studio by Mark Donahue.
“I titled the album Mercy Me as I was thinking about all the things going on in the world,” Earl said about his inspiration. “We need to have more mercy for the world, for other people and for ourselves. I love playing the blues, and the session was so enjoyable. The band was focused, and we came together as one.”
Earl has a unique, beautiful, easily identifiable tone that comes from within and not from a piece of equipment, such as a pedal, which he has never used. The album’s dozen tunes include a diverse mix of originals and unique covers of songs from such legends as Muddy Waters, John Coltrane, Dave Mason and Percy Mayfield.
Earl, born Ronald Horvath, has led a storied music career beginning with his early years in Boston while studying at Boston University. He graduated with a dual degree in education and special education in 1975. Ronnie taught for a few years while playing guitar at night before joining and touring with John Nicholas and The Rhythm Rockers, Sugar Ray and The Bluetones, Roomful of Blues, and finally with his band The Broadcasters. Ronnie has shared the stage with B.B. King, Otis Rush, Bobby Blue Bland, Albert Collins, Big Mama Thornton, Etta James, Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers, Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Leonard Bernstein, among many others. An authorized biography of Ronnie’s life, Beautiful Child, is in progress and includes stories from Ronnie as well as 100 of his friends and colleagues who have walked alongside him.
Perhaps being the son of two Holocaust survivors has given Earl a keen insight into the human condition, which has manifested itself in his musical delivery. As Ronnie celebrates more than 30-plus years of sobriety, he’s often quietly devoted his time and donated concert proceeds to help people affected by substance abuse. And as someone who once studied to be a special education teacher, he recalls with particular fondness a 10-year period when he volunteered at LifeLinks Inc., a nonprofit in Chelmsford, Mass., that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Mercy Me Track Listing
1. Blow Wind Blow (McKinley Morganfield) 6:57
2. Alabama (John Coltrane) 5:08
3. Blues for Ruthie Foster (Ronnie Earl) 5.23
4. Soul Searching (Ronnie Earl, Kaz Kazanoff) 4:35
5. Blues for Duke Robillard (Ronnie Earl) 7:41
6. Only You Know and I Know (Dave Mason) 7:03
7. A Prayer for Tomorrow (Anthony Geraci, Ronnie Earl) 6:00
8. Dave’s Groove (Ronnie Earl, Dave Limina, Forrest Padgett) 6:51
9. Please Send Me Someone to Love (Percy Mayfield) 10:46
10. Coal Train Blues (Ronnie Earl) 5:02
11. The Sun Shines Brightly (Ronnie Earl & Diane Blue) 8:33
12. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (Carl Smith, Gary Jackson) 5:55