J.P. Soars and the Red Hots
J.P. Soars is soaring high, touring the world after releasing a new studio album last Fall, LET GO OF THE REINS, produced by Tab Benoit on Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou label. Soars was also nominated for “Blues Rock Artist of the Year” in the 40th annual Blues Music Awards, alongside blues music heavyweights Billy Gibbons, Eric Gales, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Tinsley Ellis, rounding out the Blues Rock category.
In the decade since he burst upon the national scene by winning 1st place in the Blues Foundation’s 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN with his band the Red Hots (and the prestigious Albert King Award as best guitarist), Arkansas native J.P. Soars has toured extensively through the United States, Canada, South America and Europe, and released an impressive catalog of powerful music. In addition to his work with his own Red Hots, Soars has been part of the regional all-star blues act Southern Hospitality, also featuring Tampa vocalist/guitarist Damon Fowler and 2019 Grammy nominee, Memphis vocalist/keyboardist Victor Wainwright, plus Red Hots drummer Chris Peet and Wainwright’s bassist Terrance Grayson. The Band’s 2013 Blind Pig release, “Easy Livin’” earned a Blues Blast Award for “Best New Artist Debut Release”, and they toured worldwide in-between the three bandleaders’ own schedules.
Soars was featured on an album by Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers, and has released five albums on his own and with the Red Hots, most recently the critically acclaimed SOUTHBOUND I-95. Brian Owens of Blues Music Magazine writes: “Make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy when you play Southbound I-95, cause J.P. Soars and his gang are on fire.” Steve Ovadia of American Blues Scene writes, “Soars’ voice and guitar are the glue that holds the album together. Both are the common thread through the various songs and both inject all of the tracks with a warmth and humanity. J.P. Soars is much more than just a gun-slinger.”
J.P. is psyched about his upcoming release, recorded during a whirlwind weeklong session at Tab Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou studios, with a band featuring Red Hot’s drummer Chris Peet on bass, and Benoit on drums, they recorded twelve songs in five days – eight originals which they wrote on the spot, plus four choice covers. The inspiration for the album came from the many nights they all spent jamming into the wee hours on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise and at the Big Blues Bender, and as expected, they captured many magical musical moments on this record.
Soars got bitten by the blues bug via a legendary source in 1988, when he won a guitar and two tickets in a raffle to see B.B. King in concert. Meeting the iconic guitarist and singer further enhanced the young musician’s quest to learn more about the timeless power of the music. Soars started his blues recording career a decade ago with the 2008 release Back of My Mind, followed by More Bees With Honey (2011) and Full Moon Night in Memphis (2014). Collectively, his catalog has received extensive airplay on the XM Radio programs of Little Steven (“Underground Garage”) and B.B. King (“Bluesville”); Top 50 status on the “Living Blues” charts, Blues Music Award nominations for “Best Contemporary Male Blues Artist of the Year,” and “Best Blues CD” and “Album of the Year” accolades from the Palm Beach Post.
A gritty and expressive vocalist, Soars elicits signature tones from hollow-body guitars, plus a home-made two-string cigar box guitar for his incendiary slide guitar playing. All of which has helped him earn dates at the Baltic Sea Festival in Germany, the Liberation Day Festival in Holland, and other shows in France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, and Colombia as well as road work throughout the United States and Canada.
In the past two years, Soars and the Red Hots have also played the Peer Blues Festival in Belgium, sharing the stage with Buddy Guy, Joe Bonamassa, Brian Setzer, and Larry Graham, and the Mississippi Delta Blues Festival in Caxias do Sul, Brazil before 10,000 people. After being discovered by the Brazilian festival’s presenter while playing with his “Gypsy jazz” project at a South Florida venue, Soars and company played the side stage in that format, then headlined the main stage with full blues intensity at its ninth annual event.
For the past several years, Soars has additionally been part of the regional all-star blues act Southern Hospitality. Also featuring Tampa vocalist/guitarist Damon Fowler and Memphis vocalist/keyboardist Victor Wainwright, plus Red Hots drummer Chris Peet and Fowler’s bassist Matt Walker, the Blind Pig recording artists earned a Blues Blast Award for “Best New Artist Debut Release” for their 2013 CD Easy Livin,’ and have toured worldwide in-between the three bandleaders’ own schedules. Southern Hospitality appears with a host of international blues icons on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, FL in February.
Soars prides himself with having one of the tightest bands on the scene, with Red Hots bassist Cleveland Frederick and longtime drummer Chris Peet. The trio has extensive touring scheduled through the United States and Europe during the first half of 2018, in addition to appearances by popular demand at blues venues on both coastlines of South Florida, all in support of Southbound I-95. Both his all-star band and new Red Hots CD may have names framed in southern trajectory, but Soars’ career is clearly on a northward upswing.