This contemporary blues player absorbs various genres to create his own voice. Les Davidson doffs a respectful cap to the Earl of Queens.
R onnie Earl, born Ronald Hovarth in 1953, was a relative latecomer to music, only picking up the guitar as a student in Boston in the early 1970s after having seen Muddy Waters perform live. His love of blues, however, stretched back much further. Growing up in Queens, New York City, Ronnie was enchanted by blues, jazz, soul and rock – when he started his musical career in his 20s he embraced all of these influences, often straddling the genres with a graceful subtlety born of living in one of the most sophisticated music cities in the world.
Once he’d decided on his future in music, Ronnie became involved in the Boston blues scene, also making trips to Chicago and Austin, Texas where he became friends with older brother of Stevie Ray, the great Jimmie Vaughan, appearing onstage with the man who had first inspired him: Muddy Waters.
In 1979 Ronnie replaced Duke Robillard in Rhode Island jump blues outfit Roomful Of Blues where he spent the next eight years touring and recording, while the band grew in popularity as the blues revival took flight.
In 1988 he left Roomful Of Blues to form his own outfit, The Broadcasters, releasing their debut Soul Searchin’ in the same year. Despite career breaks to deal with alcohol and cocaine addiction and depression, Earl continues to record with The Broadcasters as well as enjoying the success of a solo career. He’s received the W C Handy Blues award on three occasions and is an associate professor of guitar at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music.
Earl enjoys a reputation as a leading figure in the blues revival of the 80s and 90s and as a polished guitarist who absorbs disparate musical influences (Otis Rush, John Coltrane and Wes Montgomery among them) and reinterprets the blues with a unique voice.
Ronnie uses mainly a pick but sometimes adds his first or second picking finger. If you take one thing from this lesson, let it be to make every note speak and bloom.
I feel the respect and affectIon for hIm that a father feels for hIs son. he Is one of the most serIous blues guItarIsts you can fInd today. he makes me feel very proud BB King
The mega-cool looking Ronnie Earl with white 50s style Strat