Earl playing the 1996 Riverwalk Blues Festival
March 10, 1953 |
Queens, New York, United States
|Genres||Blues, rhythm and blues, jazz|
|Labels||Black Top, Telarc, Rounder, Stony Plain, Verve, Sledgehammer Blues/AudioQuest Music, Antone's|
|Roomful of Blues, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters|
Earl collected blues, jazz, rock and soul records while growing up. He studied American History at C.W. Post College on Long Island for a year and a half, then moved to Boston to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education and Education at Boston University where he would graduate in 1975. He spent a short time teaching handicapped children. During his college years, he attended a Muddy Waters concert at the Jazz Workshop in Boston. After seeing Waters perform, Earl took a serious interest in the guitar, which he had first picked up in 1973. His first job was as a rhythm guitarist at The Speakeasy, a blues club in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to playing in the Boston blues scene, Earl traveled twice by Greyhound Bus to Chicago, where he was introduced to the Chicago blues scene by Koko Taylor.
He began performing solo in 1986, in addition to playing with Roomful of Blues, and he released his first solo album on the Black Top Records label with a quartet that focused on blues instrumentals. After leaving Roomful of Blues, he began collaborations with contemporaries Ron Levy and Jerry Portnoy, Earl King, Jimmy Rogers, and Jimmy Witherspoon.
In 1988, Earl formed his own band which he called The Broadcasters. The band was named after one of the first Fender guitars, distributed in 1950, which originally had been labeled The Broadcaster. The first group of Broadcasters included Darrell Nulisch (vocalist), Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), Steve Gomes (bass), and Per Hanson (drums). In 1988 they released their first album, Soul Searchin, followed by Peace of Mind in 1990. Their album Language of the Soul was released in 1994. The lineup for the Broadcasters for that album was Bruce Katz (keyboards), Per Hanson (drums) and "Rocket" Rod Carey (bass). The next album The Colour of Love, featured Marc Quinones (percussion) and Gregg Allman (keyboards). The latter association led to Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters' opening for the Allman Brothers Band at Great Woods, and to Warren Haynes (guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band) sitting in with Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters at Johnnie D's in Somerville. Later, Katz joined the Gregg Allman Band.
In 2000, Earl was diagnosed with several medical ailments, and scaled back his touring, and also re-evaluated his career plans. In 2002 Ronnie gathered together a new group of Broadcasters and began a productive and creative partnership with Stony Plain Records of Edmonton Alberta Canada. The new Broadcasters were Jim Mouradian (bass), Dave Limina (piano, Hammond B3), and Lorne Entress (drums). In 2014 Diane Blue(vocals) joined the band as a full time Broadcaster and became the first female Broadcaster in the band's history. In August 2016 Lorne Entress left to work on other projects and in January 2017 Jim Mouradian passed away suddenly after a show. The current group of Broadcasters (2018) now include Dave Limina (piano, Hammond B3), Diane Blue (vocals), Forrest Padgett (drums), Paul Kochanski (bass). In 2017, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters released The Luckiest Man, Ronnie's eleventh release from Stony Plain Records. In October 2018, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters will celebrate thirty years as a band.
Earl is a four-time (1997,1999, 2014, 2018) Blues Music Award winner as Guitar Player of the Year. For five years he was an Associate Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music and, in 1995, he released Ronnie Earl: Blues Guitar with Soul, an instructional VHS tape that was then re-released in DVD format in 2005. Earl was also the blues instructor at the 'National Guitar Summer Workshop'.
Ronnie Earl has appeared as a guest on over 40 albums and projects. I've Got Something To Tell You" - Blues and Old-time Fiddle with Ilana Katz Katz and friends, 2014