JP Williams Blues Band featuring Ekat Pereyra
New York City born JP Williams attended Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. It was there that he began moonlighting at college coffee houses playing a mixture of folk, blues and soul. After college JP returned to the city and performed at open mikes, and jams. He gave up performing, returned to Tunkhannock just north of Wilkes-Barre, and opened a music store called the “Music Workshop”. He finally resumed performing in 2014.
JP released his debut album “Mixed Bag” in 2016 and won the Steamtown Music Award for “Best Blues Act” at the annual Electric City Conference in Scranton. Two Eps followed, and in 2017 he was nominated Steamtown’s “Best Guitarist”. In 2018 JP released his second full length recording “Everblue” featuring the Russian born Ekat Pereyra joining him on four tracks.
Nine of the ten songs, on this new album, were written by JP. He and Ekat front a band including keyboardist Eric Brody; Eddie “The Harp” Czarkowski or Tommy “Chi-Town” Perrone Jr, harmonica; Andy Bower, saxophone; bassists Gregory Joseph or Firp Edmunds; and Jack Roberts or Mike Weber, drums. Six more musicians are also featured.
JP opens with “Mighty Dangerous Boogie” featuring a hip narrative and some heavy beats as Perrone wails away on his harp. “Around Midnite” is an evocative song sung by Ekat with Bower on sax and some airy guitar from JP. “Regret” is another narrative with the lyric “don’t do nothin’ you might regret one day”; Eddie is on harp and Bower on sax, as Ekat sings in the background.
“Solid Gone” features JP with some fine guitar as Ekat steps upfront, with keyboardist Brody, Eddie on harp, and the rhythm section of Joseph and Roberts. “Never Break This Heart” features the rhythm section of Bill Coleman bass, and Sharon O’Connell drums, as Ekat takes the lead.
“Don’t Let The Devil Ride” is a tune included as a tribute to Leo “Bud” Welch, a gospel and blues singer, who started his career at the age of 82. JP reminds us that Leo believed “it’s never too late in life to follow your dreams”. Sung as a duet between JP and Ekat the band’s performance on this classic makes it the centerpiece of this fine recording.
My favorites include the guitar driven duet “Honeychild” with some sweet harp from Eddie; and Ekat singing both “Grey Autumn Day” and “Need a Little Sugar” with Brody on piano. JP closes with the “Talkin’ Coronavirus Blues” and the lyric “wash your hands, don’t touch your face”.
JP is a fine story teller on this entertaining follow-up to his highly acclaimed “Everblue”.