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“I’ve Been Waiting” A new dimension for multi-dimensional David Ralston

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2008-01-04

Say ‘Merry Christmas’ to David Ralston, and watch his smile beam from ear to ear.

The popular blues musician is celebrating, and rightfully so. His latest CD, I’ve Been Waiting, is superb from the opening title track to the final wails of Da Blues. On top of that, collaboration with friend and fellow musician Rinken Teruya has produced Friends, which is to debut on iTunes.

I’ve Been Waiting is one of those special albums that makes you want to really listen, and not play in the background. Should I Stay or Should I Go? exemplifies Ralston’s guitar talents while at the same time demonstrating his ability to seamlessly slide from blues to more contemporary pop sounds, then over to blues roots rock.

Ralston’s excitement soared last week as the Should I Stay or Should I Go? track aired on Blues Deluxe, a syndicated radio show playing on 103 stations in the United States and a few countries. Blues Deluxe averages more than two million listeners to its programs, a boon for the Massachusetts and Indiana boy who’s made Okinawa home. He joined Buddy Guy, the Grateful Dead, John Popper/Eric Clapton, Dan Tranor and Jack Hadley, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, Phantom Blues Band and Rev. Jimmie Bratcher on the program that aired the week of December 23rd ~ 29th.

For the lanky Ralston, there’s never a dull moment. An Okinawa vacation nearly 15 years ago found him falling in love with the island, and with his guitar. He began playing the local clubs circuit, then decided “I liked the area and thought what a great place to raise a family.” It’s a decision he’s never regretted, as he’s been instrumental in making the down home rhythm and blues sounds popular in Japan.

Today, Ralston begins an All Japan Tour that takes him to Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Hiroshima,and Hakedate, but he’s still a home boy, playing to his fans on Okinawa. A January 5th show at MODS in Okinawa City is sold out, but he’s there again February 2nd. He performs at Café 4U on the 21st of January, and at Club Rider in Naha City on the 22nd.

Ralston’s latest sounds vary a bit from earlier albums The Lucidity of Insanity, Blue Sky and Nail It Down, a more intense, yet relaxed tenor. Keyboards on Ain’t Asking Forever are slick and crisp, while the vocal work holds rapt attention. Still, it’s Ralston’s fingers on his 1934 National steel guitar that pushes him into that super class of guitarists. In fairness, he ranks right alongside the likes of Eric Clapton and Duane Allman. Ralston has some 30 guitars, and he uses them to weave together the entrancing words of home, love and rough times that audiences quickly identify with.

If I’ve Been Waiting was a book, you wouldn’t be able to put it down. Fortunately, David offers an hour of heartfelt pleasure with his latest offering. Don’t miss Red Wine & Moonshine, with both the slide guitar moves sending shivers up the arm, and the gravelly voice is so powerful, you’d almost believe Ralston is the original rhythm and blues king. A song later, Don’t Cry, he picks up the tempo and vocal stylings around, versatility at every turn.

Mentored by the legendary Delaney Bramlett, Ralston has earned respect across the industry, playing with the best musicians around. “I let them know that I trust in their ability to play with me and not for me,” Ralston explains. “They are the experts and I think they enjoy playing with me because I ask for their artistic input.” And that’s another thing about the David Ralston sound that permeates every tune. He’s a down to earth, quiet guy who makes you feel like you’ve been friends forever.

Rinken Teruya, a popular Okinawan musician and recording studio owner bonded with Ralston several years ago, bringing Ralston into the Ajima Records studios to record Blue Sky. “Rinken helped me get the best Japanese musicians to play on the album,” David says. “He is awesome.” That friendship has led to Ralston’s traveling the Japanese circuit with Yoshio Nomura, and now, the All Japan Tour.

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