38-year-old blues guitar superstar Joe Bonamassa is gearing up to release a new record.
On March 25, Bonamassa will release Blues of Desperation, his first new record since 2014’s Different Shades of Blue.
Bonamassa has quickly cemented himself as one of the foremost blues guitarists on the scene today thanks to a tremendous work ethic and prolific nature of his music-making: Blues of Desperation will be his 12th proper solo record since 2000.
A new album from Joe Bonamassa is always news and when, like this, it comprises all new songs and feels like a move back to the raw and exciting Bonamassa of a few years back, well that just adds to the moods.
Over the last few years Bonamassa has been involved in a lot of different projects – Beth Hart, Rock Candy Funk Party, BCC among others – and sometimes it has felt as though his energy for raw Blues/Rock has drifted away a bit. He has never managed to actually dull his edge or produce a weak album but the Bonamassa of ‘Sloe Gin’ has been buried under horns and style and I, for one, have been looking forward to our hero throwing off his chains and emerging fresh and hard, ready for the fray: ‘Blues Of Desperation’ feels like that has happened.
The track listing for Blues of Desperation:
No Good Place for the Lonely
Blues of Desperation
The Valley Runs Low
You Left Me Nothin’ But the Bill and the Blues
Distant Lonesome Train
How Deep This River Runs
What I’ve Known for a Very Long Time
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It isn’t all blast and bombast although on the opening couple of numbers ‘This Train’ and ‘Mountain Climbing’ he sounds harder and more forceful than anyone else playing Blues today. On ‘Drive’ he shows a soft side, highly emotive and melodic and with some gorgeous guitar and a latin swing feel to the number.
The title track has a great sense of darkness and, yes, desperation about it – very much in a Zeppelin-esque style – and shows that Bonamassa is still looking to develop his playing into different area.
Over the weekend, Joe Bonamassa premiered the official music video for “Drive,” a moody, minor-key track off his new album, Blues of Desperation.
His most recent album, 2014’s Different Shades of Blue, debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, evidence of his high status in the blues/rock realm.
Understandably, part of Bonamassa’s drive comes from a desire to stay as vital and relevant as ever. As he said in a statement: “I want people to hear my evolution as a blues-rock musician,” Bonamassa said last month when he initially announced the new album. “Somebody who isn’t resting on accomplishments and who is always pushing forward and thinking about how music can evolve and stay relevant.”
Bonamassa recorded Blues of Desperation in Nashville, and involved a host of capable backing musicians including James House, Jeffrey Steele, Jerry Flowers, Gary Nicholson and Tom Hambridge.
The album is produced by Kevin Shirley, marking 10 years the two have been collaborating.
Bonamassa says, “I can explain our relationship with one word – ‘trust.’ I completely trust in Kevin and his musical promptings. He pushes my musical ability by challenging me to not just rest on my laurels or settle for ‘good.’ He expects more out of the other musicians as well and will not hold back when he sees us falling back into our usual routine.”
“These are some of the best guys in the business,” Bonamassa said. “Lyrically, you’ll hear the proverbial trains, mountains, valleys and other blues references about heartbreak and loneliness but there are also some poignant moments about getting away from the stressful, crazy demands of life and losing yourself with your special someone. I think anybody will be able to relate.”
The result definitely does see Bonamassa working harder and it feels as though he has a new lease of life in his music. It’s been a while since I could put hand on heart and say that a new Joe Bonamassa album was going to be on my playlist for weeks but this is most certainly one.
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