Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

JP SOARS

FULL MOON NIGHT IN MEMPHIS

2014-09-16

JP Soars has been on a tear over the past few years. After winning the International Blues Challenge in 2009 and the Albert King Award for most promising guitarist he joined forces with Damon Fowler and Victor Wainwright to lead Southern Hospitality, which released its highly acclaimed Easy Livin' disc in 2013. This disc reunites him with his own band, The Red Hots, for 14 tracks that showcase Soars' wide range as a guitarist. "The Road has Got Me Down" is a Delbert McClinton style country roadhouse number with lap steel while "Somethin' Ain't Right" channels 70's rockers Free with its heavy beat and muddy groove. "Thorn in My Side" echoes Bon Jovi with its shifts in dynamics and big rock hooks. "Makes No Sense" is a laid back number with a simple bass track providing plenty of space for Soars to weave mesmerizing leads. "Mean Old World" moves at a similar unhurried pace but with a slinky south of the border edge, which is featured more prominently on the instrumental gem "Lil' Mamacita". Speaking of slinky, "Viper" has a gypsy vibe propelling Soars' tale of an evil woman who is nothing more than a snake in the grass despite her appearance as a queen. Straight blues makes an appearance on "Savin' All My Lovin'" which is a standard shuffle that features a mid-song solo from Soars that is likely a staple at his live shows with its stretched notes and heavy tremolo laden runs up and down the fretboard. Elsewhere, "Reefer Man" is an upbeat jump blues right out of the Louis Prima or Wynonie Harris songbooks with its mile a minute beat and wailing saxophone. "Missin' Your Kissin'" mines the same vein with some red hot West Coast style blues. The final change up comes from "The Back Room" which has a funk/R & B edge that nudges the fun quotient up a notch. While Soars is an adequate vocalist with a Dr. John style growl, he rarely achieves as much impact with his voice as with his guitar. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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