2016 is looking to be a very busy year for Joe Bonamassa that starts this month with not only the highly anticipated release of his new album ‘Blues of Desperation’, but also three consecutive nights of live entertainment at Birmingham, Bournemouth and Plymouth.
Further details of these events can be found below:
Saturday 19th March 2016 – BIRMINGHAM BARCLAYCARD ARENA King Edwards Road, Birmingham, West Midlands, B1 2AA.Book Tickets Online: theticketfactory.com or the Box Office 0844 338 0338 / Doors: 7pm.
Sunday 20th March 2016 – BOURNEMOUTH BIC Exeter Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5BH Book Tickets Online: bhlivetickets.com or the Box Office: 0844 576 3000 / Doors: 7:30pm.
Monday 21st March 2016 – PLYMOUTH PAVILIONS Millbay Road, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 3LF Book Tickets Online: plymouthpavilions.com or the Box Office: 0845 146 1460 / Doors: 6:30pm.
July is also shaping up to be another busy month for Joe as he is pleased to announce a further five special concerts, where he will be paying homage to the British blues rock guitarists that inspired him – Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page – for UK fans in July 2016. This one-time only UK event will be billed as – JOE BONAMASSA IN CONCERT: A SALUTE TO THE BRITISH BLUES EXPLOSION.
Dates for the tour include:
Saturday 2nd July 2016 – HOGHTON TOWER North Preston, Lancashire, PR5 0SH.
Tuesday 5th July 2016 – BRISTOL COLSTON HALL Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5AR.
Thursday 7th July 2016 – LONDON GREENWICH MUSIC TIME FESTIVAL Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London, SE10 9NN.
Friday 8th July 2016 – NEWARK CASTLE Newark Castle, Riverside Park, Tolney Lane, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG241BZ. Tickets for all of the July dates can be purchased via the 24 Hour Ticket Hotline: 0844 844 0444 or from
Blues of Desperation – Released 25.3.16 via Provogue.
There aren’t many artists on the planet that work as hard as Mr. Bonamassa and it’s incredible to believe his last studio album ‘Different Shade of Blue” was released in 2014. After that album achieved a Top 10 Billboard slot, Joe embarked on a worldwide tour where he sold out many arenas, playing to thousands of people and we can confirm that Joe’s live shows are a spectacle to behold, as we managed to catch him at the tail end of last year at Nottingham’s Trent FM arena. (see that review here)
Soon after that tour, GRAMMY nominated Joe, not one known for resting on his laurels, headed back to Nashville’s Grand Victor Sound Studios (formerly known as RCA Studio A), to start recording album number twelve, which saw Bonamassa working back along side his long-time producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Journey) and during an intense, five-day period they recorded eleven galvanizing songs with a crack group of musicians including drummers Anton Fig and Greg Morrow, bassist Michael Rhodes, keyboardist Reese Wynans, horn players Lee Thornburg, Paulie Cerra and Mark Douthit, and background singers Mahalia Barnes, Jade McRae and Juanita Tippins.
“I want people to hear my evolution as a blues-rock musician,” says Bonamassa, “somebody who isn’t resting on accomplishments and who is always pushing forward and thinking about how music can evolve and stay relevant”.
There are very few artists, around today that record albums with a whole band present, Joe goes on to say “Since we recorded the tracks live, you can tell the performance was paramount to each and every artists, who fed off each others energy, to bring the best out of each and everyone of us. I’d like to think this fact will help to invigorate and excite the fans, because they’ll be able to hear the passion and edgy sound that Kevin and I were going for. We feel this album embodies the energy and talents of all the musicians that feature on it’.
Blues of Desperation is Bonamassa’s most powerfully diverse and boldly realized album yet, with the material ranging from the gutsy, gritty blues call to arms of ‘This Train’ (Joe’s guitar is set to “rude” throughout) to the elegant yet emotionally shattering ballad ‘What I’ve Known For A Very Long Time’ to the soul-nourishing, acoustic-based Americana of ‘The Valley Runs Low’, on which Bonamassa’s voice rises up majestically to meet Barnes, McRae and Tippins in gospel-like rapture. And then there’s the bleary, tequila-soaked ‘Drive’, dripping with the kind of raw, wicked and unsettling sensuality that could make David Lynch go green with envy.
The opening track ‘This Train’ is a great little uplifting number, that appears to feature every musician enlisted to help produce this album. As it’s one of the more upbeat tracks on the album, it draws you into a false sense of security, as this album does in fact explore a plethora of different human emotions. I love the fact Bonamassa has managed to emulate the sound of an old locomotive, during the solo, simply by playing his guitar!
‘Drive’ is one our favourite tracks on this album and I can clearly see this becoming a firm favourite amongst the Bonamassa faithful. If Chris Rea and David Gilmour had a lovechild, this track would be the result. This track is an instant blues classic and we predict, it will feature on the forthcoming tour dates set list, no questions asked.
‘No Good Place For The Lonely’ is another favourite of ours and another classic track off this new album, which instantly reminds you why Joe Bonamassa is regarded as one of the greatest living guitar legends alive today. This track is a real showcase for the writing abilities of some of Music City’s top tunesmiths, people like James House, Tom Hambridge, Jeffrey Steele, Jerry Flowers and Gary Nicholson, who all worked alongside Bonamassa to create this album. The riffs in the solo, for this track, are a true masterclass and make it easily apparent why Joe is regarded as a guitarists guitarist.
I couldn’t tell you how or why this album demonstrates Joe Bonamassa’s musical evolution, as I wasn’t present during the making or thought process of his previous eleven studio albums but what I can tell you, is that for us, this album helps to strengthen the already widely known statement that is, Joe Bonamassa is one of the greatest all round Blues musician around as this album simply confirms that this artist was born to write and perform this type of music. Long may this continue and here’s hoping that we’ll not have too long to wait before we’re reviewing another stella album, just as is ‘Blues of Desperation’.
Full track listing:
1.This Train 2.Mountain Climbing 3.Drive 4.No Good Place For The Lonely 5.Blues Of Desperation 6.The Valley Runs Low 7.You Left Me Nothin’ But The Bill And The Blues 8.Distant Lonesome Train 9.How Deep This River Runs 10. Livin’ Easy 11.What I’ve Known For A Very Long Time
‘Blues Of Desperation’ will be available in the following formats:
It’s not often a tour of this calibre comes around these parts, however tonight’s gig is stuff of legends and see’s an artist who is just that, a legend! Joe Bonamassa released a sterling album “Different Shades of Blue” in 2014, which was met with rave reviews and hailed as one of the best blues albums of last year. This year he’s also been very busy and has released two live albums “Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks” and “Live at Radio City Music Hall” which see Bonamassa fulfilling a life long ambition to perform at this legendary venue.
Bonamassa is regarded as one of the greatest modern blues guitarists of our generation and is seen as an artists artist. Many aspire to match his legendary skills as a guitar player, but few have managed to accomplish it, in his own unique style of playing at any rate.
Tonight’s event at the massive 10,000 capacity Trent FM arena in Nottingham, was very nearly a sell out, with all the good seats taken, which also saw an all seated floor. Having been given a photo pass, I was relishing the thought of capturing the guitar god in all his glory tonight, especially at this great venue – chances like this don’t come along all that often. Having people sat towards the front of the stage meant we couldn’t shoot from the pit, like we normally would, but we were allowed to shoot from the sides which was perfectly acceptable, as I’d hate to ruin someone else’s enjoyment of this amazing show.
Once I found a suitable position in which to shoot from, I did in fact study the first three tracks, ‘See See Baby’, ‘Never Make Your Move Too Soon’ and ‘Angel of Mercy’, in great detail through my lens, hoping to capture Joe in that perfect position. Joe makes playing his chosen six string for the evening, a custom Gibson guitar with his signature etched into the neck (which is a really nice touch), look a breeze. What he manages to do with this, or any guitar is so absolutely amazing, that I can only describe as being music to my eyes (and ears) as it was as much a visual spectacle as it was an audible delight and was truly magnificent to behold. So much so in fact, every time he turned away from us, to jam with other band members, like his bass player Michael Rhodes, I simply wanted to pick him up and turn him around to face us, the crowd again, so we could continue to watch those magic fingers at work!
Joe does in fact continue on with his UK tour, with Cardiff on 27th October, then Bournemouth on the 28th and finishing off with Brighton on 31st, or so the tour flyers say. Joe does in fact have another date, on the 1st of November at Mr. Kyps, in Poole Dorset, which see’s him keep a promise he made some ten years ago at his first ever show in the UK, at the same venue. This is in fact a free concert, details of which can be found on Joe’s site, but as this is a free show, I can only assume all the tickets have now gone, but it’s worth checking out, as this guy is one not to miss!
Full set list consisted of:
1.See See Baby 2.Never Make Your Move Too Soon 3.Angel Of Mercy 4.Hey Baby 5.Oh Beautiful 6.Happier Times 7.Trouble Town 8.Going Down 9.Gave Up Everything 10.Double Trouble 11.Breaking up Someone’s Home 12.Love Ain’t a Love Song 13.Sloe Gin 14.Ballard Of John Henry 15.Spanish Boots 16.All Aboard
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)