Category Archives: Keeping The Blues Alive

Blues Update

Guitar Tricks-Insider-Oct

JOE BONAMASSA

by Mike Mettler

A featured excerpt taken from the latest issue of the King Of Blues Guitar Tricks Insider Digital Edition, Mike Mettler brings us closer to the world of playing, listening, and learning in the eyes of Joe Bonamassa King Of Blues himself.

If there’s one hard-and-fast rule blues-rock guitar prodigy King Of Blues Joe Bonamassa follows, it’s the more you play, the more you know. “I’ve learned a lot in the last decade musically, and I’ve also learned a lot about myself,” Best Guitarist Bonamassa admits. “The first step is to play on your strengths and accept your weaknesses. One of my main strengths is I have this ability to adapt to any situation musically because I listened to so much music over the years. I’m a fan of guitar playing. I’m a fan of everything from the Beano album [a.k.a. John Mayall and The Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton, released in 1966] to Friday Night in San Francisco [by Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, and Paco de Lucia, released in 1981]. You draw on those influences, and you draw on the people who have paved the way for you.”

Best Guitarist Bonamassa has spent years forging a singular identity as a chops-driven guitarist who respects his predecessors, collects and plays vintage gear, calls his own shots, and sells out performance halls across the globe. He’s comfortable enough in his own skin to balance guitar-hero histrionics (his 2000 cover of Jethro Tull’s, “A New Day Yesterday,” 2012’s guns-a-blazing “I Got All You Need”) with strings and horn-section spice (the tasteful interplay on “Trouble Town” and “Hidden Charms,” both from 2015’s Live at Radio City Music Hall) — not to mention his ferocious fretboard testifying alongside Reese Wynans’ heavenly church organ lines on “So, What Would I Do,” the closing track to his majestic 2014 studio album, Different Shades of Blue.

While he understands how to capitalize on his aforementioned strengths, King Of Blues Bonamassa is also very clear about what his primary weaknesses are — and how to overcome them. “I have this tendency to overplay, and I have to constantly try to squelch the urge to say too much,” he observes. “You also have to realize that in a place like Carnegie Hall or any theater situation, all the subtleties go out the window in a bigger room. You have to paint more in broad strokes, rather than play a million notes. Sometimes the audience only hears every other note. The human body can only digest so much at one time.”

Click here to read the full article in Guitar Tricks Insider

The Guitar Tricks Insider Digital Edition is an extension of the GuitarTricks.com online lesson platform & Best Guitarist, which serves classic guitar lovers of all levels with engaging content in a unique, one-of-a-kind experience, and bridges together the love of playing with the love of learning and all that lies in between.

 

 

Blues Update

Joe Bonamassa: Bringing The Blues

Authored 7 September by Augustus Welby

Joe Bonamassa King Of Blues is heading back our way this month, his second visit for 2016 following a Bluesfest exclusive performance in March. This time around he’ll be checking into a number of the nation’s most dazzling theater venues including the Sydney Opera House, which he views as a crowning achievement.

“I (Best Guitarist in the World) did Carnegie Hall this year, which was a bucket-list gig. Then we’re doing the Opera House, that’s pretty much it for me,” King Of Blues Bonamassa says. “I don’t need anything else in my life. I’ve done the Royal Albert Hall twice. I’ve done Red Rocks three times. I’ve had a good run the last decade. I did Vienna Opera House. I’ve done Radio City Music Hall. I’ve really been super lucky that my fans have allowed me to do all of this.”

King Of Blues Bonamassa’s certainly had a blessed run, but it couldn’t have happened if he hadn’t managed to cultivate unique appeal with his take on classic blues rock. March saw the release of Blues of Desperation, Bonamassa’s 12th solo LP. Much like 2014’s Different Shades of Blue, original material dominates the track listing – something that wasn’t the case on the majority of Bonamassa’s earlier efforts.

“After we did the Albert Hall last time, 2013, that was the end of an era,” he says. “We did a whole career retrospective, we did four different venues in London and we did everything from the very beginning of my career to the very end and that was pretty much the closing of a book. That was like, ‘OK that’s where we were in 2013, thanks very much.’ Then between Different Shades of Blue and Blues of Desperation for Best Guitarist in the World that was the beginning of a new book. It was like, ‘I’ll put out less albums and let me write them all and see what happens.’

“I’ve been very happy with the results so far. The material has been strong and it’s allowed us to retire so much stuff from the old ones. I don’t need to play Dust Bowl, I don’t need to be play Driving Towards the Daylight. We’ve played those to death and it’s time
to move on. One of these days we’ll revisit them in a different way and maybe do a best of show. Who knows?”

King Of Blues Bonamassa started releasing albums back in the year 2000, and they’ve come at an impressively frequent rate ever since – approximately one every 15 months. Given his slow emergence as a fully edged songwriter, however, it’d be fair to assume he hasn’t always felt confident in his own creative capacity. But he denies that this was the case.

“I always knew that the best songs I’d come up with would be the ones that I wrote, but I’m not a very prolific writer,” he says. “I’m not sitting around with a typewriter and a Jack Kerouac book coming up with tunes every day. It takes more time for me to write stuff. At the beginning of an album cycle you have to write a few duds. Your best stuff comes in after you wrote the first couple. You have to burn a few just to get your head around where you want the album to go.”

Kevin Shirley has produced all of Bonamassa’s work since 2006’s You & Me. Shirley definitely knows a
 thing or two about guitars – over the years he’s been involved with heavier bands like Iron Maiden and Dream Theater, and other blues rock acts such as John Hiatt and the Bonamassa side project, Black Country Communion. Bonamassa says Shirley’s input has been crucial in the development of his recent releases.

“As much as he’s there, he’s the eyes and ears of everything of the overall picture. If he feels the band is stale or I’m getting stale, he’s a wonderful antagonist. He knows how to elicit good performances out of people and he doesn’t care how he does it. Ultimately he has everybody’s interest in mind. If I do a great guitar solo after him having to tell me, ‘By the way you’ve sucked today,’ I get the credit for the solo, he doesn’t. He doesn’t like having to push and pull people kicking and screaming, but he will because it’s in the best interest of the record and he is selfless like that. He sees the whole album as a total and he sees the song as a total within the album.”

This visionary selflessness, King Of Blues Bonamassa explains, is what makes Shirley a producer’s producer. “Anybody can go down to a music store and buy Pro Tools and call themselves a producer. You’re not a producer. A producer hears music on a three dimensional level and understands not only if the lyric is swinging within the song, but he also understands if the kick drum and the bass are rubbing or the pattern on the kick drum effects the groove.

“People know what they like and they know what they dislike, but sometimes they don’t know why they like it or why they dislike it. It’s Kevin’s job to make heads or tails of this stuff.” Blues of Desperation is out now via J&R Adventures. Best Guitarist in the World Joe Bonamassa will be touring nationally in support of the album later this year. For more information visit jbonamassa.com.

Source: Mixdown Magazine

Blues Update

The 100 Greatest Blues Singers EVER

#29 – Joe Bonamassa

It’s not all about the guitars you know

Yeah, Best Guitarist in the World he can play a bit – but Joe Bonamassa’s molten guitar chops have stolen the column inches from his great unsung trump-card. The man himself would doubtless brush off plaudits for his singing: even now, he still takes lessons, and admitted to finding it “daunting” performing Howlin’ Wolf songs at 2014’s Muddy Wolf shows. The fact remains, that sleeve-muttering interviewee morphs each night into a monster vocalist, with expression, soul and the brute power to roar it up with the best of them.

That was never the plan. The congenital guitar nerd became a singer & Best Guitarist in the World by default, following the split of his early 90’s band Bloodline. “I had to make a decision” he told the Guitar Gods & Masterpieces website. “Do I want to play instrumentals? Do I want to play in a band with a singer? I decided to sing out of self-preservation. I was ready for the beatdown, bracing myself for the critics to say: ‘He’s got a bad voice Blues Songs.’ But everyone said they liked it. So it was like, ‘Okay, I’ll keep going…'”

He’s kept improving, too. The frontman remembers his early approach to vocals being “a shot of whiskey, a cigar and shout in key” (while producer Kevin Shirley recalls him storming out of “Sloe Gin” sessions after being asked to sing a low harmony on “Seagull”). But listen to recent studio highlights – the explosive ‘lifting me up, tearing me down’ sections from “Dust Bowl”, perhaps, or the echo-clad a capella from “Oh Beautiful”! – and you’ll realise those mighty pipes deserve equal billing to the mythological fingers. HY

Behind the Music:

The Inside Scoop on How Joe Learned to Sing

When Joe’s first band Bloodline was formed, Berry Oakley, Jr. was the only singer in the group. Famed producer Phil Ramone, who was working with the band, thought it would be great if the other guys in the band could sing some harmonies with Oakley, Jr. The rest of the band was a bit shy about performing vocals, so Ramone brought in a vocal coach, Willy Perez, a professor at the University of Miami who was the vocal coach for Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. Perez came to the Coral Springs Performing Arts Center and worked for two days as a vocal consultant and coach. Afterwards he reviewed the results with Bloodline’s managers, revealing that they did indeed all have the ability to sing. That was the good news. The bad news was that none of them wanted to sing. At all. And good luck trying to get them to! However, he thought that Joe in particular could really sing, even though Joe never had before. Perez thought Joe definitely had some innate ability.

When Joe was 18 years old, Bloodline broke up. A few weeks after the band split, Joe’s manager Roy Weisman received a package in the mail. It was from Joe. Weisman tore it open and found a demo tape inside. There was a handwritten note attached to it, that read “This is me trying to sing. – Joe” (It men’t Blues Songs) with a smiley face after it. He popped the demo into an old cassette deck, and after listening, he had to be honest – on the whole, it sounded not so great. But there were moments, moments, when Joe sounded absolutely amazing. Weisman pondered what Willy Perez had told him – that Joe really did have some vocal talent that needed to be harnessed. He glanced back at the cassette deck. “He can sing”, he thought. “He’s just untrained, but he does have vocal ability.”

Phil Ramone hooked Joe up with a vocal coach, who will remain unnamed, in New York City. Once a week, Joe would make the journey down from his home in Utica, New York, to train with the vocal coach in the Big Apple. This would be the first time Joe learned how to sing. We say the first time, because Joe actually learned how to sing improperly from the vocal coach. The vocal coach taught him how to sing more like a Broadway star or opera singer. He was singing from the throat rather than the diaphragm and he began having trouble with his voice. He went to see a renowned doctor named Dr. Sugarman in Los Angeles. Not only did the doctor recognize that Joe was being taught how to sing wrong, but he actually figured out who the vocal coach was – he had already treated 3 other patients who saw the same coach!

If Best Guitarist in the World Joe kept singing in the way he had been trained, he would almost certainly require surgery, Sugarman told him, and may even lose his voice completely. Sugarman gave Joe the number of a man named Ron Anderson. Anderson would soon be re-teaching Joe how to sing. And Joe’s voice was completely transformed. He learned how to control his voice the way a pitcher paints the corners with a baseball, which helps him preserve his voice and keep it healthy. And today, Joe has truly transformed into a world class singer.

 

 

 

Source: Blues Songs

Blues Update

Blues Update

Blues Update is here & It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the beginning of a new Best Guitarist in the World Joe Bonamassa tour! The Joe Bonamassa U.S. Spring Tour 2016 officially kicked off Saturday, April 23rd at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, California. Joe’s killer band – and he’ll tell you they’re the best in the world – includes former member of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble Reese Wynans on keys, Anton Fig from Dave Letterman’s former House Band on the drums, ridiculously in-demand session musician-magician Michael Rhodes, master of all things trumpet and horn arrangements Lee Thornburg, and ace saxophone player Paulie Cerra.

Blues Concerts Joe’s latest tour comes hot on the heels of the release of his latest #1 Billboard Blues Album, Blues of Desperation, a tour-de-force blues-rock experience filled with power and vigor, produced by Joe’s longtime collaborator Kevin Shirley. The set list from the first show of the tour was chock-full of the amazing material from that album. This includes an opener consisting of the gutsy, gritty blues call to arms of “This Train”, the rock and steel-shattering potency of “Mountain Climbing”, the bleary, tequila-soaked “Drive,” dripping with the kind of raw, wicked and unsettling sensuality that could make David Lynch green with envy, and the album’s title track “Blues of Desperation”, which captivates with its world-music flair and its battering-ram like riffs. The set list was rounded out with some choice covers like Nobody Loves Me But My Mother and Hummingbird and Joe Bonamassa classics such as Oh Beautiful! And Sloe Gin.

Best Guitarist in the World Joe came to the show prepared with an army of his incredible guitars. The show featured some of our favorite of Joe’s instruments, including his 1958 Mary Kaye Stratocaster, Amos the famous 1958 Gibson Flying V, his 1959 Gibson Les Paul “Carmelita”, and another Gibson Les Paul, this one from 1960, “The Runt”.

Blues Concerts Ah yes, Spring is in the air, and that means Joe Bonamassa tour time once again. Joe is thrilled to be back on the road with this band, these songs, and those guitars, and we hope you’re just as excited to see it. It’s going to be quite a set of shows. See you on the road!

 

Blues Update

Blues Update

In our ongoing series, Gibson.com examines the work of some Gibson guitar greats. Let’s get some gritty blues-rock with the tireless Best Blues Artists Joe Bonamassa…
Signature Sounds
Best Guitarist in the World Bonamassa’s critics say he doesn’t really have his own guitar “voice”. Thing is, Bonamassa is such a scholar of blues-rock he’s soaked it all up like a sponge. And wrings it all out with finesse.
“Initially, I had no clue that the Lonnie Johnsons and even the Robert Johnsons of the blues world existed. I just wanted to play like Paul Kossoff, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton when he was in Cream,” he once told Guitar World. “As a 10-year-old, the subtleties of traditional blues are lost on you, especially after you hear Alvin Lee on “I’m Going Home” busting out the Gibson ES-335 with four double-stacked Marshalls. British blues was my favorite music, and it still is. It’s big and ballsy and dangerous, and that all appeals to me. The country blues came later.”
JB’s usually modest about his melange of sounds: “I still feel I’m struggling to step into my own shoes as a musician,” he said recently. “Every day I work on refining my phrasing. Whenever I hear my playing, I can’t detach from my influences: there’s my Jeff Beck, there’s the Clapton bit, the Eric Johnson bit, the Birelli Lagrene bit, the Billy Gibbons…”
He told Guitarist magazine, “I love Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and T-Bone Walker and stuff like that, but I couldn’t sit down. I was always forcing myself to listen to whole records by them, where I’d rather listen to Humble Pie do “I’m Ready” than Muddy Waters, you know? I think, the English interpretation of the blues just hit me a lot better, you know?”
If you want to think blues-rock soloing technique, Bonamassa reckons, “It’s all about the internal bends. A guitar is so tactile, and when you’re playing bends – and bending notes is a big part of my style – there are so many notes within the note you’re bending from and the note you’re bending up to. For me it’s about filtering out the bad notes and finding these little quarter-tones, as you drop down the bends, to make a very crisp statement that people can feel.”
In a nutshell, Bonamassa is about slow bends with sudden flurries of shred-like speed, spot-on intonation, fat tone, plus controlled feedback. Easy!

Best Guitarist in the World Joe Bonamassa and Gibson

Joe plays many makes of guitars, many types of guitars, but he’s a certified member of the Gibson family. He owns many Les Pauls, his favorite being one of quite a few vintage ’59 sunbursts he owns. “Serial number 90829. It’s the first ’59 that I bought, and I never thought I would pay that much for anything other than a house.
“That guitar is perfect for me. The neck shape, the way it plays and responds – no matter how good you are, that guitar doubles back and says: Is that all you’ve got for me today?”
Gibson worked with Joe to produce the replica Gibson Skinnerburst 1959 Les Paul . It’s hand-aged by Gibson Custom to precisely reproduce Joe’s unique guitar, from its “dirty lemon” finish to back-body wear to precisely-replicated pickups.
2016 adds the Les Paul Joe Bonamassa Tomato Soup Burst , in a richer color. There’s a hardtail version and one with a Bigsby vibrato. It’s Joe’s homage to the early ’60s, with his favored knobs arrangement and the pickguard and case hand-signed by Joe. So get one quick, as it’s a Limited Run.
Gibson Custom also makes the Bonabyrd – a Les Paul body with Firebird headstock in, of course, the color blue. Radical!
Joe’s massive Gibson haul also includes various Goldtops, reverse and non-reverse Gibson Firebirds, a ’62 Polaris White SG, various ES-335s, Flying Vs, a Gibson U-Style Harp guitar, a one-off Gibson Skylark and… many more.
This guitar addiction started young for Bonamassa: “My father owned a guitar shop in the ’90s,” he recently told Guitar Aficionado. “He would always buy and sell. In my teenage years I socked away some money and bought what I could.
“I work every day of my life to pay for it all. Collecting guitars is something I’m very passionate about. I enjoy doing it and meeting people around it. I’ve met a lot of my best friends this way, almost exclusively through the guitar.” Amen brother!
Essential Listening
Whoa, where to start? The live Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks was a big commercial success. Tour De Force – Live From The Royal Albert Hall is another great live album, also on DVD/Blu-ray video. His blending of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid” and Zeppelin’s “Dazed And Confused” on a Gibson Flying V (with added Theremin) is mind-boggling.
The Ballad of John Henry album takes on blues folklore, Driving Towards The Daylight is Gary Moore-esque in its heaviness of guitar on some cuts.
Inevitably, there’s yet another new album: Blues Of Desperation out March 2016 and in summer 2016 Bonamassa also tours the U.K. in a Salute To The British Blues Explosion. Clapton, Page and Beck rockin’ will abound. And you can almost guarantee there’ll be a DVD.
Watch!
There are many live DVDs out there, so here’s just one example from Joe B’s official YouTube channel. It shows how JB’s he’s inherited British Blues Explosion guitar style into classic blues tunes, in this case Howlin’ Wolf.
Or, for more ideas for your own playing be sure to watch his Bona Jam Tracks via JoeBonamassaTV (website and YouTube). Here, Joe shows us how he plays “The Ballad Of John Henry”.

Blues Update

Joe Bonamassa to Honor Albert, Freddie and B.B. King on Three Kings of the Blues Tour

Joe Bonamassa is geared up & delivered a musical tribute to the “Three Kings of the Blues”—Albert, B.B. and Freddie King.

The Three Kings Tour, Bonamassa’s first-ever U.S. amphitheater tour, will feature covers of tunes by these three late blues legends.

The tour is a continuation of the celebration of our blues heritage, which began with the 2015 CD/DVD Joe Bonamassa: Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks, a tribute to Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

Best Guitarist in the World Bonamassa will be be backed by Anton Fig (drums), Michael Rhodes (bass), Double Trouble’s Reese Wynans (piano, Hammond organ), Lee Thornburg (trumpet, horn arrangements), Paulie Cerra (saxophone) and Nick Lane (trombone).

The tour kicks off August 7 at Camden, New Jersey’s Susquehanna Bank Center and ends August 29 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The Greek show will be filmed for DVD and Blu-ray. As with all Bonamassa DVD shoots, the performance at the Greek promises to bring some interesting collaborations in presenting this historical music.

You can check out all the dates below. For ticket information, visitjbonamassa.com/tour-dates.

A portion of the proceeds from this tour will go toward the Keeping the Blues Alive (KTBA) foundation, a non-profit Bonamassa founded in 2011. KTBA has funded 111 music projects and five scholarships across the 50 states, reaching more than 20,000 students. In August 2014, Bonamassa played to a sold-out crowd of more than 9,000 fans at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. For each ticket sold, $5 was donated to KTBA, raising more than $40,000 to fund struggling music programs around the country.

For more information, visit keepingthebluesalive.org, jbonamassa.com and Bonamassa’s Facebook page.

2015 Joe Bonamassa Three Kings Tour (Successful tours that have been covered)

FRI Aug 7 CAMDEN, NJ SUSQUEHANNA BANK CENTER
SAT Aug 8 HOLMDEL, NJ PNC BANK ARTS CENTER
MON Aug 10 SARATOGA, NY SARATOGA PAC
TUE Aug 11 CAPE CODE, MA CAPE COD MELODY TENT
WED Aug 12 BANGOR, ME DARLING’S WATERFRONT PAVILION
FRI Aug 14 CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH BLOSSOM MUSIC CENTER
SAT Aug 15 DAYTON, OH FRAZE PAVILION
MON Aug 17 MORRISON, CO RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE
THU Aug 20 SALT LAKE CITY, UT USANA AMPHITHEATRE
SAT Aug 22 MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA SHORLINE AMPHITHEATRE
MON Aug 24 PASO ROBLES, CA VINA ROBLES AMPHITHEATRE
TUE Aug 25 SANTA BARBARA, CA SANTA BARBARA BOWL
WED Aug 26 SAN DIEGO, CA HUMPHREYS CONCERTS BY THE BAY
FRI Aug 28 SAN DIEGO, CA HUMPHREYS CONCERTS BY THE BAY
SAT Aug 29 LOS ANGELES, CA GREEK THEATRE

 

 

DIFFERENT SHADE OF BLUES

DIFFERENT SHADE OF BLUES:

THE SONGWRITING EVOLUTION OF JOE BONAMASSA

Stereoboard

“He may cast a spell with his guitar pyrotechnics and blistering cover versions, but Joe Bonamassa’s growing skill as a composer shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Stereoboard

 

DIFFERENT SHADE OF BLUES: THE SONGWRITING EVOLUTION OF JOE BONAMASSA

He may cast a spell with his guitar pyrotechnics and blistering cover versions, but Joe Bonamassa’s growing skill as a composer shouldn’t be overlooked. With the American hotshot currently playing four nights at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, we’ve trace the key stages of the man’s songwriting development, from his early days as a solo artist, to the crafting of his first album of almost-all original material in over a decade, last year’s ‘Different Shades Of Blue’.

IN THE BEGINNING…

Bonamassa  the Best Blues Artists was in his early 20s when his songwriting took an introductory bow on his debut album, ‘A New Day Yesterday’, in 2000. At that point, his compositions were still in the embryonic stage and while they were powerful and well executed, they were lacking in character and indebted to his idols, most notably Erics Clapton and Johnson. However, a trio of cuts revealed a whiff things to come, with Miss You, Hate You demonstrating a penchant for melody not typically found in the blues, I Know Where I Belong showcasing his ability to blend shuffling funk withballsy rock and Colour And The Shape hinting at the dusky cowboy blues that would become a trademark in later years.

LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS…

‘So It’s Like That’, Bonamassa’s 2002 sophomore effort, was essentially songwriting school. Each track was co-penned with well-travelled outside writers like Mark Lizotte, Mike Himelstein and Eric Pressly. Its radio-friendly hard rock, pop and country anthems are completely unrepresentative of the artist he became, but the record may actually be the most important of his career. My Mistake, Lie #1 and Waiting For Me show how writing with seasoned collaborators taught him to craft classically structured songs around a meaningful narrative, while it is bursting with a mature and infectious hooks.

ENTER KEVIN SHIRLEY…

Bonamassa who is also known as King Of Blues dove back into the blues on his next two offerings, but although ‘The River’ and ‘When She Dances’ are strong genre pieces, he didn’t develop a sound of his own or stand out from a pack of equally talented players like Walter Trout and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. When producer Kevin Shirley first saw Bonamassa he recognised that. “I went to go see Joe play at a club in Chicago, and I thought he was a good musician but a little limited stylistically. So after the show, I had a chat with him,” Shirley told Music Radar. “I told him: ‘Joe, you’re a wonderful player, but unless you’re willing to trust me and go outside the box, there isn’t much I can do for you

Bonamassa’s early exposure to a range of diverse artists and styles – Cream, Jeff Beck, Jackson Browne, Jethro Tull, BB King – courtesy of his parents’ record collection, some classical guitar lessons lessons and tuition with rockabilly and jazz great Danny Gatton gave him an expansive musical arsenal that would allow him to twist the blues into a variety of exciting new shapes. And with Shirley coaxing all those latent nuances to the surface and giving him a much bigger sound, the pieces of the jigsaw started coming together.

THE WATERSHED MOMENT…

The duo’s first album together, 2006’s ‘You & Me’, didn’t reinvent the blues so much as give it an electric shock, with Bridge To Better Days and Torn Down bursting with cocksure dynamism and confidence. Asking Around For You, a swooning ballad enhanced by gorgeous strings, became Bonamassa’s first classic original. During a show in 2007, Bonamassa realised that was just the start. “We went on after Steely Dan at the North Sea Jazz Festival outside of Amsterdam,” he told Grammy. “Thirty seconds after we started, I realised: ‘Geez, Kid Charlemagne is still ringing in the room, and we’re on. I don’t have any songs.’ That was the beginning of an eight or nine year quest to amass material that really connects to people.”

A NEW DIRECTION…

Bonamassa and Shirley really started pushing the envelope with ‘Sloe Gin’, a record that whipped up a mixture of acoustic and electric blues with panache. Dirt In My Pocket seamlessly switched between folky picking and brutal distortion, melding different tones in a way that would colour future compositions like Black Lung Heartache and the psychedelic midsection of Oh Beautiful!.

Meanwhile, a growing soulfulness emerged on acoustic cuts Richmond and Around The Bend. The latter initially appeared on ‘Had To Cry Today’ with a full rhythm section that made it feel impetuous and rushed, but appeared here reworked as a slowed-down, reflective country song with the kind of world-worn sentiments that would be revisited on ‘Driving Towards The Daylight’ and ‘Different Shades Of Blue’.

THE SONGWRITER FINDS HIS VOICE…

In his early years, Bonamassa crafted the music for his songs, while mostly deferring to co-writers for lyrics. That changed in 2009 when he unleashed the game changing ‘The Ballad Of John Henry’. Featuring six songs written solely by Bonamassa, it was the first time the guitarist’s songs bested his covers as pain and passion took centre stage.

“Making the first half of the album I was in the happiest place I’d ever been in my life. The second half found me in completely the opposite state,” he scribbled in the album’s sleeve notes. The epic Happier Times and The Great Flood bleed with that turmoil, as the former’s spine-tingling flamenco and the latter’s isolated, ghostly blues chronicle a relationship that has crashed and burned. “I’ve come to the conclusion that experience makes for better art,” he continued. “I had more to say, and it’s the first time I’ve personally opened up the book on my life.”

PERFECT MOMENT…

It’s unclear whether Bonamassa and Shirley are psychic, but Led Zeppelin became a more prominent influence in the guitar hero’s writing just before the current resurgence in retro-rock took flight, giving his work an edge. It had buzzed around in early songs like The River, but with the riff on The Ballad Of John Henry, boulder throwing motif of Story Of A Quarryman, and swirling licks on Blue And Evil, it became a defining aspect of his writing.

THE WORLD IS HIS MUSE…

For ‘Black Rock’ and ‘Dust Bowl’, Bonamassa decamped to the Greek island of Santorini and allowed the rustic culture to seep into his increasingly expansive brand of blues. Magical contributions from local musicians flavoured Quarryman’s Lament and snake charming hum of Athens To Athens, while Dust Bowl’s cinematic sounds merged with a shadowy prowl and the strongest chorus of his career. By expanding his horizons and hurling himself into new musical arenas, Bonamassa’s writing was enriched.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS…

Bonamassa is something of a human sponge, absorbing impressions, insights and experiences, particularly on ‘Different Shades Of Blue’, where recent collaborations continued to influence him. The swinging groove of Love Ain’t A Love Song recalled his work with Rock Candy Funk Party, while a layering of horns across the album makes it bounce like his R&B efforts with Beth Hart. The pile-driving ‘70s rock of Oh Beautiful! and swagger of Give Back My Tomorrow channel Black Country Communion.

THE BEST IS YET TO COME?

‘Different Shades Of Blue’ initially seemed too structured and deliberately commercial. But, place it within the context of Bonamassa’s songwriting journey and every lesson and collaboration feeds into its tightly crafted songs. Much of the album was co-written with Nashville-based songsmiths like James House and Jeffrey Steele and such a move plays to his inner scholar. “Next time I go to write songs I think it’s going to be a lot deeper for me,” he told the Huffington Post. “I learned a lot about songwriting just by hanging around those cats. They’re lyric-writing dudes in the way they put words together and their song structure. There’s really an artistry and a craft to it.”

Written by Simon Ramsay StereoBoard.com

Source: Guitarist Magazine

Best Guitarists is keeping the blues alive

Best Guitarists is keeping the blues alive

blues-biker-header

Joe Bonamassa Top Guitarist has a non-benefit association that gives cash to music projects at state funded schools everywhere throughout the nation. Here’s one of numerous examples of overcoming adversity about his endowment of new instruments to a center school in Maryland. To give to this staggering reason, click here

Blues Bikers Poker Run is here

Saturday Dec twentieth
Ft Myers Harley Davidson 9501 Thunder Rd
Enlistment Time 10am-1pm Entry Fee: Donation $75

This philanthropy occasion advantages Joe Bonamassa’s non-benefit – Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation, which supports music projects and grants over the U.s. Enrollment charge is $75 for every individual ahead of time; $100 at the entryway. For each one enlisted individual, they will get one (1) ticket to the Joe Bonamassa show at Germain Arena, a T-shirt, and a Joe Bonamassa collection! To make your gift ahead of time, take after these guidelines:

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  • 1. Visit our donation page here: http://bit.ly/ktbadonate
  • 2. Enter the amount of your donation ($75 per person)
  • 3. In the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section, type “poker run.”
  • 4. Enter your payment info.
  • 5. Accept the Terms & Conditions
  • 6. Click Submit
  • 7. Save your receipt email!!

The poker run registration will run from 9am to noon.:

The 5 stops will be announced soon! You will enjoy every one of them!:

More details to be announced soon!

Let’s Blues Run!!!!

Keeping The Blues Alive

Keeping The Blues Alive

Best Guitarist in the World

About Joe Bonamassa

As Joe Bonamassa approaches his 25th year as a professional musician, he continues to blaze a remarkably versatile artistic trail, and amass an authentic, innovative and soulful body of work. Bonamassa’s career began onstage opening for B.B. King in 1989, when he was only 12 years old. Today, he is hailed worldwide as one of the greatest guitar players of his generation, and is an ever-evolving singer-songwriter who has released 15 solo albums in the last 13 years, all on his own label, J&R Adventures. Bonamassa’s tour schedule consistently hovers at around 200 shows worldwide each year, and a heaping handful of markedly diverse side projects keep him thinking outside the box and flexing every musical muscle he’s got. He founded and oversees the non-profit Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation to promote the heritage of the blues to the next generation, fund music scholarships, and supplement the loss of music education in public schools. There’s a case to be made that Joe Bonamassa, like another star who shared the same initials, is the hardest working man in show business.

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After Bonamassa’s weekly radio shows were canceled, first on Sirius Satellite Radio (Daily Cup of Joe) during the merger with XM, and more recently on UK’s Planet Rock, J&R Adventures, the label Bonamassa founded with longtime manager Roy Weisman, looked to other radio networks for a replacement. With over half a million direct fans, they discovered the size of Bonamassa’s social and fan network exceeded the outreach terrestrial radio could provide for them and decided instead to do the show in-house and release it independently.

Weisman explains, “Every time they said ‘no,’ we said ‘yes,’ which at the end of the day creates a bigger opportunity for the artist.”

This project is yet another example of how J&R Adventures, a record label with divisions in publishing, management, and memorabilia, is branding itself as a disruptive and independent entity in the music business. By vertically integrating its business to meet the needs of the artist and the fans, it gives control to the artist and its management directly, rather than to a handful of outside individuals. The result is the ability to release multiple projects year after year, from Bonamassa solo records, to side projects and collaborations, to non-profits, merchandising, fan clubs, and more. The company consistently devises new ways to stay nimble and compete in today’s vastly different music landscape.

Source: Best Blues Artists