With eighteen musicians listed in the making of the latest album by blues guitarist JP Soars, it comes as little surprise that the result is packed full of music that not only holds its roots in blues but encompasses other genres such as folk, Americana, soul and a heavy twist of rock. This is the kind of blues that gives space to brass instruments and nods to artists such as Nickelback, Van Morrison, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Blues is an acquired taste, you either love it or avoid it, in recent times John Mayer has given blues a commercial sound and taken the mantel from people like Eric Clapton and the great BB King, and the guitar sound has been found bobbing in and out of country music for decades.
Where ‘Southbound I-95’ sits is as a homage to the broad flavours of blues, there is a strong rhythm to all the songs and a variation from the laid-back style of instrumental ‘Arkansas Porch Party’ through the gospel-sounding ‘Shining Through The Dark’ to Jerry Lee Lewis sounding ‘The Grass Ain’t Always Greener’ to the Tex-Mex sound of ‘Deep Down in Florida’ and ‘Across The Desert’ it’s clear that this is a musician well-schooled in the education of the style.
Like I said, blues isn’t for everyone, but if you want to hear a full band rocking out and drawing inspiration from quite a broad spectrum, give it a whirl.