By and large ‘Raise The Roof’ is the ‘Ronny Smith Show’ front back and center. Not only does he play guitar, keys, and bass throughout he also arranges, produces and programs all ten tunes. Eight of these are original compositions cleverly complemented by the addition of two immaculately crafted covers. The first is an edgy interpretation of the Bill Withers classic ‘Use Me’ with the second being a classy re-imagining of the Carpenters blockbuster ‘Superstar’. Truth to tell he makes both sound brand new and when (for the only time) he calls upon the input of a supporting artist it is Scott Martin on sax that adds another dimension to the easy grooving ‘Cool Breeze’.
The first single to be serviced to radio is ‘Me Time’ that demonstrates the innate feel Smith has for understated yet compelling smooth jazz. Much the same can be said of the warmly inviting ‘On It’ for which he certainly is and although ‘Brazilian Dancer’ proves to be a supercharged Latin extravaganza Smith is able to channel that same energy into the foot-tapping, in the pocket ‘Breaded Funk Well Done’.
Another number that really fizzes is the high-octane title cut. The perfect vehicle for Smith’s virtuosity, it is in the good company of the moodily delicious ‘Brighter Day’ and a blues-tinged rendition of ‘Say It Again’ where Smith’s interlude on bass guitar is something to savor.
‘Raise The Roof’ is a fantastic way to become acquainted with Ronny Smith’s special vibe. It is due out on January 27, 2020, and is not to be missed.