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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Blues-Rocker J.P. Soars Set To Release Debut Album For Little Village 'Brick By Brick'




Several years ago, blues-rocker J.P. Soars became aware that he was building his audience one person at a time. He’d win a new fan, or several, every time he played and eventually he knew he could create a healthy career if he stuck with it.


“It all seemed very natural,” says Soars, who titled his new album Brick By Brick as a testament to his approach. “The album is very reflective of how I have built my music career, one brick at a time.”


The new album by the Boca Raton, Florida musician is his first for Little Village (release date: June 30, 2024 ) and shines a light on the multi-dimensional musical talents of Soars. In addition to his base of blues-rock, Soars displays his affection for the influences of gypsy jazz, country, Latin, rock and heavy metal.


“I didn’t set out with any game plan for this album,” he says. “In fact, a lot of these songs came out the pandemic when I was just fooling around with different songs and styles. It just grew around that.”


Standout tracks include “Things Ain’t Working Out,” a guitar-driven lament to a broken relationship while “Keep Good Company” features Soars on guitar and lyrics that reinforce the need to be watchful of your own conduct. Soars also does a masterful job on Little Milton’s “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.”


“Can’t Keep Her Off My Mind” is a supercharged, hillbilly-country rave up. Soars plays banjo and lap-steel on the song, with strong interplay with the rollicking fiddle of Anne Harris (known for her work with bluesman Otis Taylor), and backing vocals by Annika Chambers and Paul DesLauriers.


Soars borrows from his gypsy jazz vocabulary on “Jezebel,” a sinewy beat that underscores the force of his attraction to an overpowering charm of a woman he can’t resist. To those who know Soars, his eclectic approach to music is no surprise. In fact, his ability to shift gears between musical styles has become a major thrust of his live shows.


In 2009, Soars won the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge, including the prestigious Albert King guitar award. Since then, he’s nominated for six Blues Music Awards, including best guitarist, best blues-rock, best contemporary blues artist, best band and as B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.


"It’s May 2022. I’m at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, having been tipped by good friend and tour manager John Callahan (Tony Bennett, JJ Cale, Brian Wilson) to try to catch JP Soars, who was playing the event. JP and his band are up for Entertainer of the Year, Blues Band of the Year, Best Guitarist and Best Drummer. A long list of artists are performing and, while crossing the ballroom with my back to the stage, I was struck by a sound so creative, tasteful and original that it stopped me in my tracks - turns out it was indeed JP Soars. 

 

Meeting him later, I was impressed by his humble, sincere nature. Months pass and I see him play a passionate and musically varied full set with his Gypsy Blue Revue where JP switched from his Heritage hollow body guitar to a 4 string stick dulcimer for the second last song, then capped the set playing his handmade 2 string cigar box guitar and, even with just the two strings, he pulled off licks reminiscent of Jeff Beck’s “Beck’s Bolero” for a climactic ending. Impressive!


His wide ranging influences started early on with heavy metal and hard rock to The Beatles, Cream and Hendrix, on to the Gypsy Jazz of Django Reinhardt, the acoustic Blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jessie Mae Hemphill and Real Folk Blues era Muddy Waters, to Jazz icon Wes Montgomery and on to Blues heroes BB King, T Bone Walker and Howlin’ Wolf.


Brick By Brick captures a singer, songwriter and versatile multi-instrumentalist at the top of his game, merging elements of all these influences, including a voice that hints at Howlin’ Wolf himself. JP is joined here by band-mate Chris Peet and guest musicians including ultra-talented mutual admirers Terry Hanck, Annika Chambers and Paul DesLauriers along with frequent collaborator Anne Harris. Altogether this makes for a heartfelt and tasteful set that should excite even the most jaded listeners. Enjoy." - Mike Kappus




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