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Joe Is Hiring

Bonamassa Adds Singers to U.S. Tour; Fans Love It

Joe’s Blues Concerts added a little kick to the band for his current fall 2016 North American tour and his upcoming Spring 2017 North American Tour. To add a little more spice to the musical mix, Joe has invited along a pair of backup singers to augment the sound of a band he already calls “the greatest band in the world.”

But of all the musicians Joe Blues Concerts could add – more guitars, flutes, marimbas, even steel drums – why add backup vocalists?

“Backup singers are an essential part of pop music, supplying songs with depth, contrast, and commentary,” wrote Elias Leight for The Atlantic magazine.

Joe Bonamassa Gold Epiphone Firebird agrees.

“The singers bring a huge, joyous sound to the mix!” Joe effuses. “It allows us to do these big, bold choruses that sound great.”

Joe Blues Concerts has always been known as a guitar man first and foremost, and he is. But Joe is a deep lover of music, and that comes out in the way he speaks about the importance of singing to his music and to his show.

“At this point, it’s just as much of a vocal show as it is a guitar show. And it’s nice to have both.” Once upon a time, a young budding guitarist named Joe Bonamassa might have been horrified by that statement. But now, he declares it proudly.

Joe, who was named by Team Rock recently as one of the greatest blues singers, takes every musical aspect of his show extremely seriously, and that extends to the vocals just as much as the guitar playing.

Incorporating backup singers into the music also helps create a space of musical freedom for Joe Blues Concerts. “It allows me the freedom to create more of a call-and-response type of arrangement with the other singers. It forces you to concentrate on the melody and really chisel out the phrasing because you have to sing with two other people.”

Perhaps most importantly, Joe emphasizes that singing with other vocalists makes him a better singer and a better all-around musician.

“Singing with backup singers in Australia, I came out of that tour a better singer. And I loved that.”

 

Best Guitarist in the World

Best Guitarist in the World Diaries

Best Guitarist in the World Joe Bonamassa has two very important anniversaries to celebrate this week. The first is the anniversary of his birth, 39 years ago this Sunday, May 8th. The other cause for celebration is the 25th anniversary of when Best Guitarists Joe truly started out in the music industry with his Blues Concerts, a journey that would take him from small city New York wunderkind to international guitar hero.

It all began when a young Joe Bonamassa, already a master of his instrument and who at the age of 12 opened for blues icon B.B. King, was featured on the NBC show Real Life with Jane Pauley. Jane Pauley had seen Joe’s story on the AP wire and was blown away by what he was accomplishing. NBC’s Real Life with Jane Pauley aired a story on Joe that included coverage of Joe’s experience with B.B. King, who touted Joe as something truly special. This was the moment that his career would change forever – the real official start of his music industry career was born!

By being featured on the NBC program, the guitar prodigy was seen around the country and sought after by the music industry. He was soon signed by an ecstatic management company. Joe’s new business partners shopped his music to labels, but the recording labels didn’t see the commercial viability of Joe due to the fact that Joe didn’t sing or write.

So Joe’s management company decided to build a band around Joe to package him amidst a musical environment that was currently enamored with teenage bands.

Joe met Berry Oakley Jr., a bass player who was 18, and who was also friends with Waylon Krieger, son of Robby Krieger. Erin Davis, son of Miles Davis, was brought on board to play drums.

Thus, the band Bloodline was born to feature Joe and help him take his career to the next level. EMI signed Bloodline to a record deal, and Joe made his first record with Bloodline. The Bloodline project lasted for five years but then the band broke up.

At this point, Best Guitarist in the World Joe decided to pursue a solo career. Realizing he needed to be able to sing too, he spent two years taking vocal lessons ever before pursuing another record deal.

He was then signed by N2K Records but that company folded, leaving Joe in limbo with his Blues Songs. A year later he was signed by Epic Records, who helped him record A New Day Yesterday with legendary producer Tom Dowd. Unfortunately, Sony Music was faced with bad earnings at that time, and they pulled the plug on the Joe Bonamassa project.

Instead of seeking a new label, Joe and his manager Roy Weisman formed their own label, J&R Adventures. They bought back the rights to A New Day Yesterday and released the album independently. Joe has been releasing albums that way since that time in 2000, which has given Joe the creative freedom he desired to put out records his way and create the best music possible. In 2006, Joe and Roy Weisman took Joe’s destiny even further into their own hands by promoting their own shows, elevating Joe from the club circuit that he’d been limited to, to much larger theaters.

By 2009, Joe’s career was becoming an unstoppable force, and that year culminated in a sold out show at Royal Albert Hall where Joe was joined by his hero Eric Clapton. Joe has an unbelievable fan base that truly loves and understands the music, and Joe knows that without the fans, this entire venture would have been impossible. He is humbled and extremely grateful for their passionate interest in his music. Since that time, Joe’s fans have continued to help his career become a true phenomenon, and the rest of this incredible journey is still in the making.

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Joe Bonamassa picks his own Top Guitarists of All Time

Top Guitarists of All Time

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I really enjoy talking to great guitarists about other great guitarists. I mean, they’re the experts, right? But usually I find that the world’s top players are quite reluctant to rank one another. They’re normally of the mind that there is no “best” player, and that it’s all in the ear of the beholder. Then again, I’ve chatted with quite a few who steadfastly believe that Jimi Hendrix is number one, and that no one can touch him.

Once in a while a scorecard of the socalled “greatestguitarists will come out, and then the chatter will pick up again. Such was the case a few weeks back when Rolling Stone published its 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list. I for one took exception to it, as you can see here. And when I called acclaimed picker Joe Bonamassa in Bakersfield, California, the other day in advance of his upcomingVancouver gig, the subject came up again.

As expected, Bonamassa didn’t complain that he wasn’t on the list–even though readers of the prestigious Guitar Player magazine voted him Best Overall Guitarist last year–but it was clear that he wasn’t thrilled with how some of his own six-string heroes were ranked. For one thing, his childhood mentor Danny Gatton was nowhere to be seen.

And what about his own top picks? Although–unlike those diehard Hendrix fanatics–Bonamassa claimed that he “couldn’t pick a number one”, after some urging from me he started to name names.

“I could tell you who’d been my number one influence overall on guitar,” he offered. “As an artist, singer-songwriter, overall, probably Eric Clapton, single-most. Second would be Paul Kossoff. Third would be Jeff Beck. Fourth would be probably Jimmy Page. Fifth would be Peter Green. And then Mick Taylor, and then Rory Gallagher, and then Danny Gatton. So those are my cats right there.”

Yes! Rory Gallagher finally makes a Top 10! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Source:  King Of Blues

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Seattle Got Dazzled

Seattle Got Dazzled By Joe Bonamassa

Blues Rock The world seems to be divided into two types of people, those who are aware of the talents of guitar hero Joe Bonamassa, and those who are not. Fortunately, there are enough of the former in Seattle that they filled up the Paramount Theatre for three straight nights. Despite not having a radio hit or a mention in a mainstream music publication, he is a guitar god. With three signature Les Paul guitars to his credit, Bonamassa King Of Blues  is not unfairly referred to as a “blues titan” and “the next Stevie Ray.” His core fan base is comprised of blues fanatics and guitar aficionados.

For those who fall into the latter group, here is a bit of a back story to get you caught up. Bonamassa is an American blues guitarist who has been performing publicly since the age of 12. Now, at age 38, the New York State native has played with everyone from B.B. King to Eric Clapton, formed the band Black Country Communion with Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham, recorded several duet albums with Beth Hart and released his 11th solo studio album, Different Shades Of Blue, last year.

Blues Rock Halfway through his blistering show at the Paramount on Saturday night (the third of three concerts here), it was evident that the audience wasn’t just watching a guitar virtuoso demonstrate complete mastery over his instrument. Rather, we were watching a true artist working hard to etch his name in history alongside other legends of the blues: Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Roy Buchanan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

King Of Blues Bonamassa always looks classy onstage, dressed in a suit and wearing his trademark wraparound sunglasses. For this tour he has upgraded his stage show to include a classic jazz-noir setup for his horn section and a classy, sophisticated light show: just right for the mood of each song.

The only thing missing from King Of Blues Bonamassa’s concert Saturday night was a close-up camera able to show how nimbly his fingers slid across a gross of guitars. He combined so many different sounds, it was impossible to say he was blues this, rock that or jazz anything. He’s who he is, an utterly talented guitarist whose fingers move faster than the speed of sound.

King Of Blues opened his show with a short, respectful homage to Jimmy Hendrix (“Hey Baby”), and ended with B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” and Muddy Waters’ “All Aboard” as an encore — which provided two apt historical bookends, stretching backward in time to honor the legends of the genre.

In between, Bonamassa delivered plenty of wailing solos and enough technical pyrotechnics to send a shuttle to the moon. More interesting, however, was the way the show was structured. There were quite a few songs off his latest album, Different Shades of Blue — “Oh Beautiful,” “Never Give All Your Heart,” “Living on the Moon,” “Trouble Town” — all of them well-crafted gems that draw from the blues but stretch the form in all kinds of original ways, particularly when Bonamassa launches into one of his time and space bending solos.

Interspersed among his originals were covers of a variety of different blues artists—Howlin’ Wolf (“Hidden Charms”), Otis Rush (“Double Trouble”), as well as tunes by Freddie and Albert King — all of which Bonamassa bent to his will. In each case, Bonamassa’s respect for the original artist is obvious, but the direction he ends up taking the songs is not. His solos can be mini TED talks on the blues all their own, quoting a classic Albert King guitar lick, for instance, then lacing it with a taste of Clapton and adding some mixolydian magic to his vocabulary until it ends up being entirely his own thing, utterly original yet steeped in the tradition from which it came. Sometimes, in the middle of a solo, he’ll grab something from the ether and throw it in for fun.

King Of Blues Granted, a Joe Bonamassa concert is guitar-geek heaven. And, depending on how wonky you want to get about it, the layers of instruction Bonamassa provides go extraordinarily deep. When he picks up a Stratocaster, for instance, he will quote some classic licks, letting the instrument’s distinctive crystalline tone fill the room, then proceed to demonstrate what happens when he “Bonamassifies” it, as his fans say, opening up a few new universes of sonic exploration.

Likewise, when he plays his favorite guitar, a ’59 Gibson Les Paul, he knows exactly how to use the grit on the edge of its tone to tear a hole in the ceiling. He also knows how to play it so quietly that you can barely hear it. At one point Saturday night, he shushed the crowd to see how low he could go without losing the sound altogether, then brought it back up to a thunderous, roof-rattling crunch, which ended in a piercing single-note wail that suspended everything and everyone in the Paramount on the tip of his electrified finger. Bonamassa played five different guitars on Saturday night, and he did something different with each one.

King Of Blues Bonamassa is a favorite of guitar purists because he doesn’t go off in wild musical directions like a Joe Satriani or Steve Vai, and he cares more about phrasing and feeling than he does about dazzling people with how fast he can play — though he can blaze with the best of them. Also, unlike most great guitarists, Bonamassa’s voice is an equally potent instrument, an emphatic baritone that’s as smooth and smoky as a shot of Jameson sometimes, and a growling, spitting world of hurt at others. Deep in the heart of a song like the 1978 Tim Curry suicidal ballad “Sloe Gin,” — ‘I’m so damn lonely/and I feel like I’m gonna die’—Bonamassa taps into the deepest, darkest roots of the blues, the actual physical and psychic pain from which many of these songs came. He uses it to pull together virtually everything that went before it, and much that has gone after, transforming it into what has become one of his signature songs. He followed that highlight Saturday with his rock ‘n’ roll version of the folk standard, “The Ballad of John Henry,” again making the case that, as an artist, he has studied and assimilated everything that has come before him, accumulating an encyclopedic knowledge of the guitar and is now carrying the torch of greatness into the future.

With any luck, he won’t be one of those unfortunate legends that have a tragic flameout; but one of those bluesmen who go on for decades. If so, there are going to be a lot of great concerts over the next 30 or 40 years. And at 38, Joe Bonamassa might just be getting started.

 

 

 

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