JP Soars has been a staple of the blues in Florida, and the rest of the South for a while now. Whether he is touring with his Red Hots, or as a member of Southern Hospitality, he plays a head-spinning variety of styles. What sets him apart from most is that he plays them all well, while still managing to make the music his own. No wonder, with influences ranging from T-Bone Walker and Django Reinhardt to Johnny Guitar Watson, Miles Davis, and Muddy Waters. It’s one thing to learn and emulate various player’s styles and mechanics; it’s an entirely different matter to be able to apply all that knowledge. This is something Soars has succeeded in doing in a huge way, and it is paying tremendous dividends for him now.
Full Moon Night in Memphis, on Soars High Productions, is his third solo outing. This well rounded album contains 14 tracks for 57 minutes of inspiring music. Production is not fussy; just clean and to the point. Sound quality is excellent, and the mix really highlights the subtleties of these performances.
As usual, we had our favorites. The title track is a hard driving, rocking blues that gets things rolling. “Makes No Sense” is a relaxed T-Bone Walker style blues that indulges the listener with lush and full guitar. “Something Ain’t Right” reminded us of Nazareth, with a full sounding, thumping rhythm section, and a perfect, searing lead. “Mean Old World” thrills with its Latin flare, Link Ray style chords, and absolutely gorgeous guitar tone.
We loved “The Back Room” for its amazing Memphis funk vibe, and “Viper” harkened back to the age of Gypsy jazz with a dead-on speakeasy feel. “Missin’ Your Kissin’,” is captivating swing from yesteryear. Terry Hanck delivers a mean sax solo, while Soars serves up spot-on phrasing wrapped in fat, sumptuous tone.
Full Moon Night in Memphis is blues of many flavors and subtleties. The music is well played by artists that are inspired and engaged, never failing to excite the listener. Treat your ears to this winning blues today.