Artist: Joe Bonamassa
Album: Road To Redemption
Joe Bonamassa's musical output is nothing short of astounding. He is clearly a prolific guitar player with a seemingly endless stream of music in him that he consistently releases at breakneck speeds. His band is always the cream of the crop, helping to deliver his take on blues rock at the highest level. For quite a while the core of his band has been studio "A Listers" Anton Fig on drums, Reese Wynans playing keys and bass extraordinaire Michael Rhodes. He fills the rest of the band out with fiercely competent musicians as well.
The thing that makes Joe special is he simply has the whole package. A tremendous guitar player, vocalist and songwriter that pays extreme attention to the details of his productions. He seems to be divisive in blues guitar circles, which I never have understood. He has his own voice and is miles beyond competent. Although much of his material is not blues in a traditional sense he always injects the blues into it in the same way that Clapton always has. I have found it very difficult to find a scratch in his armor.
Somewhere Down The Road is a track that spoke to this writer. He has a way of building the dynamics of his music that is reminiscent of Zeppelin in my opinion. His guitar tone is always perfect and his playing speaks for itself. His leads on this cut are swimming in reverb giving the cool impression that his amp is "Somewhere Down The Road '' as well. There are very few musicians that can put the whole thing together in the way that Joe does on this track.
Speaking of Zeppelin influence, Molly O' is definitely cut from the same cloth. It reminds me of the classic song Kashmir. His British Blues influence is usually apparent, but he has taken that influence into a modern era and put his own spin on it in the same way that Jimmy Page did with his blues influence. Joe and the band dig in pretty hard on this and make it clear why he is arguably the marquee name in the blues rock genre of the last 25 years.
My favorite track is Stronger Now In Broken Places. Again, his tone is ridiculously well rounded and full. His playing is tasteful and restrained. In some small way it reminds me of a Paul McCartney song that would've been written in his Wings era. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I also can't dismiss it.
Joe's influences are always worn on his sleeve for all to see and hear, but he has put them into the blender and created something fresh that very obviously resonates with both the blues and rock communities. Although I wouldn't call this record a blues album he is very much a modern blues guitarist across the entirety of this production. As I listened to this album it is obvious to me why Joe Bonamassa is on the bigger stages drawing the big crowds. His exceptional musical ability coupled with a commercial sensibility that is wrapped into a slick packaging is quite a force to be reckoned with. Check the album out, you won't be sorry!