Joe Bonamassa – two-time Grammy-award nominated guitarist and vocalist – does not need an introduction. This year he is back in the UK to promote his twelfth studio album Blues Of Desperation.
The album was recorded in just five days in Nashville’s Grand Victorian Sound Studios (previously known as RCA Studio A) under the watchful eyes of Bonamassa’s longtime producer Kevin Shirley along with drummers Anton Fig & Greg Morrow, bassist Michael Rhodes and keyboardist Reese Wynans. This combo is a simple recipe for success. As expected, Bonamassa’s new proposal is the kind of material that redefines the blues-rock genre.
Blues Of Desperation appears to be the most varied and boldly realised album of the New York-native’s career to date. Alongside strong classic blues sounds, it also includes emotional ballads and elegant acoustic tracks. His spring tour is part of the promotion of this latest gem.
The April 2017 UK tour features Joe alongside a hand-picked group of world-class musicians, some of them involved in the new album’s recording: Michael Rhodes (bass), Anton Fig (drums), Reese Wynans (keyboards), Lee Thornburg (trumpet), Paulie Cerra (sax) and Jade Macrae with Mahalia Barnes on backing vocals. There is no surprise that two nights at London’s Royal Albert Hall sold out long before the tour started.
The Friday night with “The Lord Of Strings” opened with one of the most energetic, buzzing, the fun tunes from his last album – This Train. This is a true rock ‘n’ roll bomb thrown into Royal Albert Hall, setting the historic venue on fire. The dramaturgy of Joe’s show reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s golden rule: Start with the earthquake and then tension should continuously increase.
Bonamassa does not slow down, second track Mountain Climbing is a sharp, strong, pure, male piece, rushed with the drums and Joe’s stunning voice. As the night progresses, Bonamassa perfectly mixes his hits with the new tunes. Little Girl, Love Ain’t A Love Song and Going Down elicit a huge applause from the Kensington crowd. If you ever thought old good blues music is dying, think again. Joe Bonamassa proves with every single note that it is alive and well.
Joe Bonamassa live at Royal Albert Hall, 21st April 2017
Review and photography by Edyta K