‘I’m sorry, who again?’ #4 – Joe Bonamassa

This blog is about bands/artists that, even though being around for some time, have still yet to achieve the recognition that they deserve beyond their loyal fanbases. With this blog I will bring you an artist or band each week that has yet to make that massive impact on mainstream music, giving short histories and mini reviews of their work to date and try to show you why they should be more prominent on your playlists.

Not many artists can say that they performed with their childhood inspirations, I reckon only 1 can say they performed with their childhood heroes when he was a child; Joe Bonamassa. This blues guitarist was playing shows with genre royalty like B.B. King at the tender age of 14, and was playing to sell-out crowds at the age of 12.

Having first picked up a guitar at the age of 4, Joe Bonamassa was simply destined for greatness with the instrument having released 10 studio albums since his debut in 2000 more than some artists do in their entire careers. Of course it would be insane for me to go through all of these albums, so I will go through the major ones throughout his career.

His debut album A New Day Yesterday was a very more commercial and a bit more on pop rock side, which looking in hindsight doesn’t suit his smooth yet raspy voice which you would think belong to someone much older than he is. What can be said about this album is that it shows his immense talent with the guitar and full of excellent solos.

Moving on to 2009 release The Ballad of John Henry which is probably the definitive Joe Bonamassa album, great blues-rock guitar tracks brought to life with energetic almost a military style beat to it. A prime example of this is the track from which the album gets its name from. The album also pumps new life into previous blues releases and brings a new generation to the genre with exceptional solos and a voice like no other.

Bonamassa is a prominent performer at the Royal Albert Hall in London continuously selling out any show he stages there. Every show he performs is different, even bringing out massive guest acts such as Eric Clapton, Paul Rodgers and believe it not; Sandi Thom (of I Wish I was a Punk Rocker with Flowers in my Hair fame).

His latest album Driving Towards the Daylight is his most successful yet having arriving in at number 2 on the UK album charts which is a massive first for the artist and the genre itself. Following the simple setup of many of previous releases, combining original songs with covers, the title track is a beautiful song and one of the many reasons to listen to this album. What could be said with this album model that it can be a bit repetitive and if this continues could really hurt his career because it’s too predictable. The title track of this album shows that Joe Bonamassa can write fantastic original songs so a future album with just original songs is something that I personally would love to hear.

Nonetheless Bonamassa does continue to breathe new life into the songs he does cover and none of his albums could never be considered bad or boring but I think it’s about time he shows the world what a great songwriter he is alongside his guitar and vocal skills.

Bonamassa is a must listen to for all blues fans and also those who love that great guitar rock style from the greats of Clapton. Blues-rock has never been as fantastic as this.

All of Joe Bonamassa’s releases are available on Itunes and other music streaming sites.

By Jack Greenard