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royal albert hall
rory gallagher
rick derringer
phenomenal talent
life experiences
Joe Bonamassa
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If your father owned a garage when you were growing up there's a chance you could have become a mechanic. If your mother owned a string of condominiums there's a chance you could have become a residential developer. If both parents owned and ran a guitar shop there's a really good chance you would develop an interest and desire to learn and perform playing guitar. And that's exactly what happened to New Hartford, NY's Joe Bonamassa,

Joe was initially exposed to what permeated the Bonomassa household: traditional artists such as Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. But it was the British/Irish stylings of Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton that directed his focus. They made him understand the need to express feelings in a newer way than what he was already listening to. He applied the techniques to quickly develop to where he was playing Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn tunes by the age of 7. By the age of 12 Joe opened up for B.B. King, who recognized and boasted of the youngster's potential.

Joe became a fan of Jimmy Page, Gary Moore, Peter Green and bands like Humble Pie. Rick Derringer spoke to me of Joe's phenomenal talent and unlimited potential in 1999. "You gotta check this kid out!" In 2000 Joe released his debut album "A New Day Yesterday" to rave reviews. And he hasn't stopped since. He has released a total of 11 albums to date (my favorite being "Blues Deluxe) as well as 2 DVD performances "Live at Rockpalazt" and "Live from the Royal Albert Hall." He was also featured on the "Crossroads Guitar Festival" organized by Eric Clapton in 2010. His 2010 release "Black Rock," debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues chart. His latest, "Dust Bowl," is following suit.

But as most music fans know this root type of talent can be found in areas around the globe. What makes Joe Bonamassa stand out above the masses? I run a parallel comparison to Gary Moore. Not to sound redundant but the blues is a depiction of emotion. It starts forming from direct life experiences. It festers in your mind and moves its way down to your stomach, where it starts to churn into a very raw, open wound. Lyrics begin to form that usually display the top layer or two of the core of the emotions in question. It's a difficult thing to properly reflect what is embedded in your gut through lyrics alone so you need the vocal ability to cry out the confusion, the anger or the disappointment that you're trying to release. Inflection is a required asset to assist with being able to properly display those emotions and Joe, like Gary Moore, has that ability. You construct a melody and end up with a song. But then comes the truly rare showcase of playing guitar.

To take what is in your mind, your gut, your spine, your legs, your crotch and to bundle everything up into a nerve that connects in your shoulders and prepares you to deliver. Then you need to flow all of that raw energy and let it come out through your hands. The solo(s). The defining moment is when you attempt to truly connect with the audience to properly grasp the entire intent of your artistic integrity. I am amazed at the display of such intensity from a man of only 34 years of age.

Over the years he has amassed a guitar collection of nearly 200 instruments. A long time Les Paul advocate Gibson honored him with a signature "Joe Bonamassa Goldtop." He has now joined forces with ex-Deep Purple vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes, keyboardist Derek Sherinian (Alice Cooper, Yngvie Malmsteen, Alice in Chains) and drummer Jason Bonham and formed "Black Mountain Communion" to see what else he can bring to the masses.

This man is the real deal. Familiarize yourself with as much of his music as you can. If he is ever touring in your area, buy tickets for all your friends.


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