Tag Archives: Keeping The Blues Alive

Blues Update

 keeping the blues alive

An effort for keeping the blues alive for the King of Blues


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Keeping The Blues Alive weekly birthdays
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Keeping The Blues Alive weekly birthdays
Son Seals
8/13/1942

Award-winning guitarist and singer who began to perform professionally as a drummer at the age of 13 for harpist and slide player Robert Nighthawk before picking up the six-string at 16.
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Keeping The Blues Alive weekly birthdays
Eddie Kirkland
8/16/1923

Born in Jamaica and raised in Alabama, this bluesman-to-be ran away from home before the age of 13 stowed away in a medicine show.
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Keeping The Blues Alive weekly birthdays
Eric Bibb
8/16/1951

Multiple-time award-nominated American folk-blues guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist who took up the guitar from the age of seven and began to play professionally at sixteen.
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The Inside Scoop on How Joe Learned to Sing

When Best Blues Singer from Guitarist Magazine 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 Best GuitaristsJoe 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” 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 Guitarists 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, Best Blues Singer from Guitarist Magazine Joe has truly transformed into a world class singer.

Source: Blues Songs

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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

 

Other musicians joining Bonamassa on the Four-Day Music-Filled Voyage include Beth Hart, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Anders Osborne, Eric Gales, and more

ATLANTA, GA – Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, Joe Bonamassa, and Sixthman are proud to present Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea III, year three of the incredible four-day floating music festival featuring Bonamassa and some of the most celebrated names in blues. This year’s festival will journey across the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Jade onFebruary 6-10, 2017, sailing from Tampa, Florida to Costa Maya, Mexico. Guests will enjoy performances from some of the biggest names in music, while discovering new favorites among emerging blues artists on multiple stages throughout the ship. From rare artist collaborations to intimate gatherings with musically inclined cruisers, the festival will have something for everyone to enjoy.

Previous Updates:

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!

 

 

Bonamassa is back with his best Blues Songs studio album since The Ballad of John Henry.

Joe Bonamassa continues to push the boundaries of blues rock. With each new record, he challenges himself to deliver something new, something fresh, and keep things interesting whilst, at the same time, staying true to the roots of blues music.

For this album, Joe has assembled a formidable lineup of talent including amongst others dueling drummers Anton Fig and Greg Morrow, bassist Michael Rhodes, and the legendary keyboardist Reese Wynans of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble fame. In the command room, Joe’s long-time producer Kevin Shirley returns to the helm.

Blues of Desperation is packed full of masterful and technical guitar wizardry as you would expect from Joe. However, the album exhibits diversity which you won’t find on his other records. Bonamassa traverses both the familiar blues rock ground such as opening track “This Train,” which comes hurtling at you like a locomotive. He also takes a step outside of his comfort zone with the sweet, soulful acoustic number “Valley Runs Low” and makes it pays off.

The album’s production value is incredible; producer Kevin Shirley has worked his magic on this record. Subsequently, the addition of a second drummer, Greg Morrow, gives tracks like the infectious “Mountain Climbing,” one of the standout tracks on the album, additional texture and depth. The inclusion of orchestral elements like the slow blues number, “No Good Place For The Lonely,” is also incredibly effective.

Several tracks on the album have an immersive feel transporting the listener to another place or time. With “Livin’ Easy,” oozing with soulful sax and honky-tonk piano, it’s a downtown Chicago speakeasy bar. By comparison, Joe’s latest single “Drive” takes you on a late night road trip to New Mexico. The song feels as though it would be an equally suitable fit on a Hollywood movie soundtrack as it exhibits some of those atmospheric characteristics.

The epic, slide guitar monster of a title track has an almost Led Zeppelin-esque quality to it. The album closes with the superb slow blues number, “What I’ve Known For A Very Long Time.”

There is most certainly nothing desperate about Bonamassa’s latest offering; there isn’t a bad track on the album. Blues of Desperation is a future classic in the making.

The album is scheduled for release via J&R Adventures/Provogue (Europe) on March 25th and is available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes on jbonamassa.com.

-Adam Kennedy, 08 Mar, 2016

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!

 

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.

Check out Joe’s entire catalog now!

Soruce: Best Guitarist in the World

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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”.

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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Blues Update

INTERVIEW: Joe Bonamassa Channels Two Chicago Blues Legends

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Photo credit – Marty Moffatt

Blues master King Of Blues  Joe Bonamassa is bringing his hot licks and big band to the The Chicago Theatre for two nights this week. We caught up with Bonamassa last week to talk a little bit about the show and the tribute he’s cooked up to honor two Chicago blues giants.

Last month, Best Guitarists Bonamassa released Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks, a live album and concert film recorded at the famed Colorado amphitheater featuring the music of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Bonamassa said he’s going to be performing some of the music from the project at the shows this week. Although Bonamassa was familiar with the songs of Waters and Wolf, he had never performed them live before that show.

“Obviously I had heard and listened to all those songs and was a big fan, but for some reason I just never played them before,” he told Chicagoist. “I felt like I was pretty much going in blind and it was a lot of information to take in. But I’m happy to have spent the time and it wound up being a joy to sing and play those songs.”

While delving in to the catalogues of Water and Wolf, Bonamassa discovered a few things about the works of these two men.

“I think the biggest discovery I made is what poets these guys were,” he said. “And a lot of that credit has to go to Willie Dixon, who wrote a lot of those songs. That guy was a real poet. And because of that, it was really important to me that I got the lyrics right to those songs. I didn’t want to go up there pretending and singing the wrong words to these iconic tunes. I had to keep that right.”

Also, it’s hard not to dig into those songs and hear the groundwork they laid for a lot of blues and rock music that followed.

“You can’t listen to that catalogue and not hear one of the great rock bands of all time—The Rolling Stones,” he said. “A. They took their name from a Muddy Waters song. And B, they had that same four-piece, ramshackle sound with nine-bar verses. It’s a beautiful structure without any real structure. Everybody is just reacting to each other and when you get that, you’ve really got it.”Best Guitarists Bonamassa said he considers himself and entertainer first and foremost, and when approaching the Muddy Wolf project he put together a nine-piece ensemble complete with a horn section. It isn’t the way Waters or Wolf approached the blues, but with the open structure of blues the ensemble can create a big sound while maintaining the basic elements of the music.

“Most of that stuff was played with just a four-piece (band),” Bonamassa said. “Once you add a nine or 10 piece ensemble, that takes it to something else. It takes it to a Big Band sound. It takes it right out of the Mississippi Delta and straight to Chicagoland.”

Bonamassa also said he felt no pressure, or obligation, to play the music exactly the way those two artists did.

“There’s no reason to do that,” he said. “I mean, nobody is going to beat Muddy Waters at Newport (Jazz Festival) 1960. I’m not Howlin’ Wolf and there’s no way I can sing like him. I can sing it this way. I can play it this way. So that’s all I can do really.”

Along with digging into Muddy Wolf, Bonmassa said people can expect to hear a lot of material from his latest studio effort, Different Shades of Blue, and some of his bigger hits as well.

“It’s a really nice show,” he said. “I’m going back to all electric this time. I won’t be doing an acoustic set and an electric set, so that should be easier. Or at least easier for me. But I guess you never know.”

Best Guitarist Bonamassa said he might get in a little sight-seeing while in Chicago this time around, too. He and the band will be spending 12 nights in the city as a lot of scheduled shows after the Chicago dates are just a few hours away by bus. One stop, he said, very well could be to 2120 S. Michigan Ave., the site of Chess Studios. Plus he’s got another pilgrimage planned.

“I’d like to buy the bus driver an extra cup of coffee and go to Kalamazoo, Michigan and see the oldGibson Smokestack,” he said. “It’s just a couple of hours from Chicago, so I think I can do it, and I’ve never seen the Smokestack before. So I’ll take a couple of Les Pauls up there and get a photo or two.”

After this tour wraps up, Bonamassa has an amphitheater tour scheduled this summer where he’ll play tribute to the Three Kings of the Blues (B.B., Freddie and Albert).

“Now I’ve played a good one-half of the tunes on that list already,” he said. “One of the big challenges is just deciding what songs to pick. I mean B.B.’s got 60 albums. Freddie’s got 16 or 17 and Freddie about the same. You’ve got to play “The Thrill Is Gone.” People are going to expect that one. We’ll have to play “Pack It Up,” and “We’ll Meet Across the River.” But the rest, we’ll try to be hip and pick some good ones. That’s going to be the fun part.”

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Jbonamassa Tour Dates

Tour Dates For Jbonamassa (TOUR: SPRING TOUR 2015)

The Best Guitarist in the World is on the road all the time for his Fan’s. Here are the list of spring tour dates for Jbonamassa Blues Concerts. Get your tickets today!!!!

TOUR: 3 KINGS TOUR 2015
DATE CITY COUNTRY VENUE TICKET
08/07

CAMDEN, NJ UNITED STATES SUSQUEHANNA BANK CENTER BUY TICKETS
08/08

HOLMDEL, NJ UNITED STATES PNC BANK ARTS BUY TICKETS
08/10

SARATOGA, NY UNITED STATES SARATOGA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER BUY TICKETS
08/12

BANGOR, ME UNITED STATES DARLING’S WATERFRONT PAVILION BUY TICKETS
08/14

CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH UNITED STATES BLOSSOM MUSIC BUY TICKETS
08/15

DAYTON, OH UNITED STATES FRAZE PAVILION BUY TICKETS
08/17

MORRISON, CO UNITED STATES RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE BUY TICKETS
08/20

WEST VALLEY CITY, UT UNITED STATES USANA AMPHITHEATRE BUY TICKETS
08/22

MOUNTAINVIEW, CA UNITED STATES SHORELINE AMPHITHEATRE BUY TICKETS
08/24

PASO ROBLES, CA UNITED STATES VINA ROBLES AMPHITHEATRE BUY TICKETS
08/25

SANTA BARBARA, CA UNITED STATES SANTA BARBARA BOWL BUY TICKETS
08/26

SAN DIEGO, CA UNITED STATES HUMPHREYS BY THE BAY BUY TICKETS
08/28

SAN DIEGO, CA UNITED STATES HUMPHREYS BY THE BAY BUY TICKETS
TOUR: UK TOUR 2015
DATE CITY COUNTRY VENUE TICKET
10/21

NEWCASTLE UNITED KINGDOM METRO RADIO ARENA BUY TICKETS
10/23

LIVERPOOL UNITED KINGDOM ECHO ARENA BUY TICKETS
10/24

LEEDS UNITED KINGDOM FIRST DIRECT ARENA BUY TICKETS
10/25

NOTTINGHAM UNITED KINGDOM CAPITAL FM ARENA BUY TICKETS
10/27

CARDIFF UNITED KINGDOM CARDIFF MOTORPOINT ARENA BUY TICKETS
10/28

BOURNEMOUTH UNITED KINGDOM BOURNEMOUTH INTL. CENTER BUY TICKETS
10/31

BRIGHTON UNITED KINGDOM BRIGHTON CENTRE BUY TICKETS
Source: Jbonamassa