It was the great Herbie Hancock who once said “I like the idea of an eclectic approach, incorporating jazz with other forms and other genres of music.” Innovative and musically gifted persons like Mr. Hancock take bits and pieces from any number of seemingly unrelated genres and styles and in doing so create both an enjoyable and somewhat unique sound that is very difficult at times to label. Such is the latest recording “Southbound I-95”, crafted by the skilled hands of the Florida based guitarist J.P. Soars.

If musicians are the sum of the parts of their influences, Soars is a musical mosaic of sorts. “Southbound I-95” exhibits bits and pieces of often vastly diverse musical fragments woven together as in a beautiful tapestry. Having been born in California and raised in Arkansas has no doubt exposed Soars not only to personal culture shock but also to a plethora of different musical forms. His resume includes time spent in metal bands as well as influences ranging from Django Reinhardt and T-Bone Walker to Metallica. I think even the aforementioned Mr. Hancock would have to conclude Soars is employing “an eclectic approach” to his music.

“Southbound I-95” is a delightful collection of J.P. Soars original and enjoyable tracks, and as you may have guessed, like Soars himself, they contain an unusual and eclectic mix of instruments from sitar and two string cigar box guitar to saxophone. The recording also features appearances by guitarists Albert Castiglia along with one of my personal favorites Jimmy Thackery. Soars vocals are also somewhat unique (in a good way) and sound something like the sound you may have obtained had you combined Levon Helm, Doctor John, and Omar Dykes into a Waring blender. His guitar styles are also wide in range from Nokie Edwards/Dick Dale to Clapton. And what’s not to enjoy about all of that?

I like all the tracks here, each has a somewhat different tale to tell from the other. The supporting musicians are all excellent as well. And I must add, the backup singer Teresa James who appears on several tracks on this CD is particularly good. If I had to pick favorites on this set, I would point you to the opening track, the country/rock flavored “Ain’t No Dania Beach”, the smoldering slow blues cut “When You Walk Out That Door” featuring heated exchanges between Soars and Thackery, and the surf flavored title track “Southbound I-95”. Nokie Edwards and Dick Dale would both be proud.

“Southbound I-95” receives the seldom imitated and heaven forbid never duplicated “buy this CD even if you have to go through your neighbors’ couches for change” seal of approval. “Southbound I-95” is available at numerous outlets online including Make certain that you visit JP and band at their official web site at

The Tunes:
1. Ain’t No Dania Beach
2. Sure as Hell Ain’t Foolin’ Me
3. Southbound I-95
4. Shining Though the Dark
5. The Grass Ain’t Always Greener
6. Arkansas Porch Party
7. Satisfy My Soul
8. Born in California
9. When You Walk out That Door
10. Deep Down in Florida
11. Across the Desert
12. Dog Catcher
13. Troubled Waters
14. Go with the Flow
15. Sure as Hell Ain’t Foolin’ Me (Radio Edit)

CD © Copyright – Soars High Music Factory / Soars High Productions, Inc. (888295780735)

Review Copyright 2018

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