As exciting as any new release 2006 can offer…
Among the most anticipated recordings contemporary blues has been delivered in years…
Be a part of the ceremony that heralds a new generation of stardom … the lighting of …
Ronnie Baker Brook’s The Torch
When he debuted with GOLDDIGGER in 1998, much of the blues world was already familiar with Ronnie Baker Brooks via his long apprenticeship as bandleader for living legend patriarch, Lonnie Brooks. His primal effort helped him earn a WC Handy Award nomination for “Best New Blues Artist” and enough encouragement from fans and media to light the runway for takeoff of a successful solo career.
Ronnie’s second cd, TAKE ME WITCHA, was released in 2001. By now, he was creating a major stir among the music community as a new kind of blues songsmith. He was writing scintillatingly youthful and urban compositions framed with pyrotechnic guitar work and the unbridled energy of a band more akin to rock and roll than anything else.
His career since has successfully navigated a path through the heaving landscape of independent music marketing, revealing how today’s talented artist can achieve unprecedented self-determination in their careers with hard work, intelligent marketing and grass roots loyalty.
The four years spent carefully cultivating his latest recordings have paid great dividends with THE TORCH, the epitome of a courageous and genre-bending release. Heart and soul are laid bare on track after track as bridges are built between more traditional concepts of blues music and modern freedoms of expression.
An apt analogy, “THE TORCH” symbolizes Ronnie Baker Brook’s role in the evolution of contemporary blues. A legacy steeped in the Chicago music tradition, he is ignited by passion for the family craft and fuelled by the responsibility of being crowned steward of the form by some of its most venerable masters. Ronnie bears the flame of a generations-old muse to an ever-widening modern audience.
“You won’t hear me singing songs about working in the fields or trying to move up from out of the Delta, because those aren’t my experiences…” Ronnie says, “but you will hear songs about growing up on the south side of Chicago and the things you see in the ghetto as a kid. They’re different experiences, so I might sing about them a different way, but it’s still the blues.“
THE TORCH metaphor applies as easily to the incendiary Ronnie Baker Brooks stage show that has been scorching festival stages and steaming up tavern windows from coast to coast. Ronnie fans the flames of three young journeymen in Daryl Coutts (keys, organ) Maurice Taylor (drums) and Carlton Armstrong (bass), bringing to life an interplay of fiery elements greater than the sum of its parts and more accurately contained than controlled.
Made up entirely of original material, most of the new songs were recorded in Memphis with the same Chicago-based ensemble that has backed Ronnie on the road these past several years. Several others were recorded in Minneapolis where Ronnie enlisted members of another band that knows well how to keep up with a funky frontman, Chance Howard and Michael Bland of Prince’s New Power Generation.
On the title track, Ronnie is encouraged to “Carry on!“ by a most unique and impressive collaboration of special-guest endorsees, including father Lonnie Brooks, Grammy-winner Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson, and singing on his last known recording project, the late Willie Kent.
Indulging his appetite for hip-hop, THE TORCH pairs Ronnie Baker Brooks with rapper AlCapone for the radio ready ”If it Don’t Make Dollars, it Don’t Make Sense”, a shared mantra adopted to cope with the business side of making music.
Throughout THE TORCH, the veteran ear of co-producer Jellybean Johnson (Janet Jackson, The Time) helps Ronnie capture the best aural treatments for his songs with a progressive mix that emphasizes composition over instrumentation, and he contributes impressive fretwork and vocals on a few songs, as well. Other guest appearances include renowned bluesman JW Williams, siren-esque Stephanie Bolton, Acme Horns and accomplished studio-percussionist John Shouloudis.
Like Golddigger and Take Me Witcha before, Ronnie Baker Brook’s newest offering courageously explores a wide dynamic range, from frivolous to ferocious. But something in the applied maturity of THE TORCH gives it a depth of texture that truly sets it apart as a coming-of-age piece.
With a rigorous international tour schedule, Ronnie Baker Brooks will be blazing into a town near you soon, so visit ronniebakerbrooks.com for a list of upcoming show dates and join us for the lighting of … Ronnie Baker Brook’s The Torch