Saturday, September 14, 2019

#408 : J.P. Soars - Let Go of the Reins

2019 – Whiskey Bayou Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 14, 2019

Produced by Tab Benoit, Let Go of the Reins delightfully highlights everything I like about the music of J.P. Soars : smokin’ guitar licks, hard-scrabble lyrics, and fearless vocals.  Soars, the Arkansas-based artist who won 1st place at the 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and pulled down the Albert King Award for best guitarist, rolls out his fifth solo studio album covered in hard-driving blues.  Soars steers the ship on vocals and guitars, with Chris Peet on bass guitar, Tab Benoit on drums, and Tillis Verdin on the Hammond B3.   

Soars begins the album with a jumpin’ cover of J.B. LeNoir’s “Been Down So Long”.  The fresh new arrangement absolutely cooks.  I love the swampy cover of the 1970 hit song “If You Wanna Get to Heaven”, by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.  Soars definitely makes this one his own.  I thoroughly enjoy his beautiful performance of Django Reinhardt’s intoxicating instrumental “Minor Blues” too. 

A wonderful deep dark groove, preceded by an ominous entrance, guides title-track “Let Go of the Reins” on its hypnotic path to a psychedelic finish.   Soars cut loose on his spirited tribute to Freddie King called “Freddie King Thing”.  It jams indeed.  “Lonely Fire” with its delicate melody and Spanish influence, is a song I simply adore.  

I highly recommend Let Go of the Reins.  It’s among the best albums I’ve heard this year.    


For more information about the artist, visit this website :  

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