Joe Bonamassa, Black Rock, 2010

joe bonamassa - black rockThere is no way in the world I can keep up with the release schedule of Joe Bonamassa. So I am still behind listening. But really I don´t care much about that as I still find every album to be worthwhile. Don´t know how they do it, but the creative juices keep flowing. And of course Joe has a keen ear for covering the right tracks…

As we are accustomed to, Black Rock ranges from more rock infused tracks, to typical blues workouts. So you could say that he resembles Rory Gallagher in that aspect. Opening with the driving Steal Your Heart Away, which has not only a great haunting chorus (probably due to the high pitched vocal harmony) but also a damn fine beat. But there also some other styles here. Athens To Athens has an acoustic feel to it, probably with a dobro or something like that. The same applies to Baby You Gotta Change Your Mind, although that has a totally different feel, more jazzy.
And it is with regret that I say the only track I don´t feel comfortable with is Night Life. Despite BB King guesting and Joe raving about his hero, to me it adds little to earlier versions. That is not saying that it sucks, mind you.

If you have never checked him out, why don´t you? If you liked him before, this will not disappoint.

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Joe Bonamassa, Dust Bowl, 2011

joe bonamassa - dust bowlThe output of this man is turning out to be quite unbelievable! If not under his own name, than with Beth Hart or Black Country Communion (whose albums will be featured later). And either on CD (one per year, like clockwork) or DVD. The man is a workaholic!

So today I am gonna write about his 2011 release Dust Bowl. And hey, I am not a true blues head by any means, but Joe is someone I feel comfortable listening to. Not only because of several more rocking tracks (like Dust Bowl or Black Lung Heartache (tasty riff!) ) but also because of the feel in his guitar playing in blues tracks like Slow Train or The Meaning Of The Blues. Joe is a competent singer for this type of stuff, yet he treats us with several guests along the line as well. The mighty John Hiatt joins on Tennessee Plates (great fun track) and the voice of rock and fellow BCC man Glenn Hughes lends his vocal cords to Heartbreaker. In typical Hughes manner. And Vince Gill contributes on Rowena.

So we are treated to another versatile album, from a man who won´t slow down, yet keeps his quality control set to high standards. If you ask me, a better missionary to spread the gospel of the blues is hard to imagine. And still cross over appeal. Great stuff, check it out!

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Joe Bonamassa, The Ballad Of John Henry, 2009

joe bonamassa - the ballad of john henryLike probably a lot of people I had heard of Joe Bonamassa before, but as I am not the greatest blues lover in the world, I always hesitated to buy one of his records. But a while back I heard the opening track of this one and was very impressed. So the waiting days are over, I had to have this.

And indeed, that opening title track is a monster. A fierce slow riff on  a pounding beat. Great stuff I can listen to all day. Next is a cover of a song most of us will know from British singer Sam Brown, Stop!. This gets the blues treatment here and, despite not being as good as the the opener, is still an enjoyable ditty. So onwards the level of interest keeps changing. But I reckon in time I will appreciate the blues workouts a little more…  I am glad to have this and am sure that people who like their blues a little rockier, or their rock a little bluesier, will appreciate this.

By the way, just after releasing a new album, talk is that Joe is participating in a new super group called Black Country Communion, together with Glenn Hughes, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham. One to watch out for!

Personal play tips: The Ballad Of John Henry, Story Of A Quarryman, Happier Times.

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