Joe Bonamassa

Different Shades of Blues


Our man has put a lot into this set, working with The CaveMan Kevin Shirley to get some sharp compositions on tape and vary the Nashville written and recorded material. The key to ‘getting’ Bonamassa, something it took this scribe a while to latch on to, is that he is such a fan of other artists especially the Brit Blues that whilst he has soaked up the influence of the Kossofs and Gallaghers (and many more lesser known players in all genres that he and I have spent hours discussing) he wants to create his own works respectful of all that but with his own twist and power. Incidentally, isn’t that what most of us who perform want to do? If you model your act on one person or group you are immediately hemmed in…

After a burst of RainBow Bridge’ era Jimi we are straight into a slew of own compositions and it must be said that post-touring with Beth Hart, Joe is managing to integrate grainy horn section riffs and arrangements into his biting guitar soundscapes extremely well. The horns never overpower what else is going on but boy do they sound good and colourful!

This is a fan pleaser of a long player and key cuts include the insistent ‘Get Back My Tomorrow’ with the best vocal on the set, the Noo Aweleens feel of ‘Trouble Town’ where you half expect Dr John to start growling along, the strident Buddy tinged wah of ‘Heartbreak Follows Wherever I Go’…

The choppy ‘Living on the Moon’ has impact and vocal phrasing close to Junior Wells (which Joe accepts as a compliment, btw) ; the jumpy beat of ‘Love Ain’t a Love Song’ – my airplay tip- riffing horns, a four-note hook and crazy guitar break. Must be said that ‘Oh Beautiful’ owes a LOT to ‘Black Dog’ but the pinched harmonics a la Beck are hard to resist. Fans of SRV’s last band might note the stellar contributions of keys genius Reese Wynans but equally the bass work Carmine Rojas and Michael Rhodes impresses and there’s not much to say about Letterman drummer Anton Fig beyond that he is uncannily on the ball here as ever.

Sounds like a fine collection to go out and perform live… no coincidence, I suggest.

By Pete Sargeant

Joe Bonamassa - Different Shades of Blue

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