JOHNNY RAWLS - Ace Of Spades (2009) & Waiting For The Train (2017)
Johnny Rawls is an American soul blues singer, guitarist, arranger, songwriter and record producer. He was influenced by the deep soul music of the 1960s, as performed by O. V. Wright, James Carr, and Z. Z. Hill, although his styling, production and lyrics are more contemporary in nature. To date, Rawls has released more than a dozen albums under his name. He has been nominated twelve times for a Blues Music Award.
Ace of Spades is the album that tops Johnny Rawls award winning Red Cadillac. Ace of Spades won Soul Album of the Year at the 2010 Blues Music Awards. Living Blues wrote Ace of Spades "is Johnny Rawls' most fully realized outing yet." Red Cadillac was the Living Blues Critics' Choice as Best Southern Soul Album of 2008. Nominated for Blues Music Awards Soul Blues Album of the Year, Red Cadillac was #1 on blues radio in August 2008 and stayed on the charts for 3 months. Ace of Spades is proof Rawls just gets better with age. Same songwriting team, same top studio musicians as Red Cadillac with the addition of former Motown studio guitarist and long-time LTD member Johnny McGhee plus former Rod Stewart band member Lance Keltner. This is what Stax and Motown would be turning out today if still in business. Johnny Rawls is the master of interpreting the song and these songs are solid. This is not a blues album but original songwriting performed by great musicians backing the reigning soul master of the new millenium.
Rawls, however, is not a traditional blues musician. His southern roots are often more firmly planted in soul, with branches extending into the blues. Such is the case with his latest project, Waiting For the Train. This is Rawl’s seventh in a string of highly successful albums on the Catfood label. He’s accompanied by his long time band, The Rays, featuring label owner Bob Trenchard on bass. Trenchard also co-wrote the album’s six original songs with Rawls, which are interspersed with four fine covers.
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