Joe Bonamassa – Redemption

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From Joe B.’s fan art work!

 

The synthesis of the electric blues, British blues, delta blues, and progressive and classic rock, Joe Bonamassa merges them all  on his new album Redemption to create an  inspiring anthem to the roadhouse blues.  Since his first solo album in 2000, Joe has been building a loyal following among blues rockers, blues fans, and old time classic rockers yearning for a sound that has largely disappeared from main stream broadcasting.  All of them should be thrilled to listen to his latest recording.

Joe is certainly one of the finest electric guitar players on the planet, has a fantastic voice, and is under rated as a song writer. On Redemption, he showcases all three elements of his talent.  The Ghost of Macon Jones is a blues rock ballad with guitar work that hints at Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band and has haunting synthesizer and keyboard play by band member Reese Wynans.  On Molly O, Joe creates a rock masterpiece on par with Led Zeppelin’s KashmirAnton Fig on drums and Michael Rhodes on bass provide an insistent beat as Joe takes his guitar to places only the very best can go. On the title cut, Redemption, the delta and gospel blues merge with Led Zeppelin and Black Country Communion influences to create a fantastic rock paean.  Deep in the Blues is a notable song with that same ethereal quality that Eric Clapton has always brought to his music.

On King Bee Shakedown and Evil Mama,  Joe finds that sweet spot between the blues and rock I call the roadhouse blues on upbeat horns infused tunes. On I Got Some Mind Over What Matters, Joe channels a bit of Muddy Waters on a sweet delta electric blues tune.

When Joe was a youngster, B.B. King invited him on stage to give the audience a glimpse of his talent and on Just Cos You Can Don’t Mean You Should Joe displays some of the same mastery of the electric guitar that the King of the Blues saw almost 30 years ago.

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Love is a Gamble is some bad ass grindin’ blues in the mold of Albert King, Freddie King, and Luther AllisonPick Up The Pieces is a down home New Orleans style blues tune with echoes of Dr. John in the rhythms and lyrics. And Stronger Now in Broken Places is a heart tugging acoustic number that highlights Joe’s stellar voice.

Over the years, Joe has recorded several songs that seem directed right at me, a laser pointed straight at my heart. Self Inflicted Wounds joins the songs Drive, Different Shades of Blue, and Driving Towards The Daylight from previous albums as soul searching epics that I will never forget.  On an album filled with great songs, it is my favorite.

Joe has earned the admiration and accolades from  music critics and reviewers like myself since the release of his third album, Blues Deluxe, back in 2003. It is my fervent hope that this album finally takes Joe into the main stream for contemporary rock audience downloads; the final piece in the puzzle. The mainstream contemporary rock genre has been decimated over the years; Joe and his music are the path back!  Redemption is an interesting and intense synergy of the blues and rock and worthy of comparisons with the works of B.B. King, Muddy WatersLed Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton. He has internalized influences from some of the greatest and with Redemption makes the statement that he represents the best of all of them: a blues man, a blues rocker, a rock guitar virtuoso, and, in my opinion, the best roadhouse blues man alive today.

Joe Bonamassa – Redemption (2018 J&R Adventures)

 

P.S. You can listen to Joe and enjoy many more roadhouse blues artists on my 24 hour blues stream at Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues !

 

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Ray Bonneville – Roots Blues at its Best on “At King Electric”

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Around the smokey campfire of the roots blues you find drifters and story tellers huddled close together on a cold night drinkin’ whiskey from the bottle or at best with a paper cup and regaling each other with songs and tales of mistaken choices and loves lost; Ray Wylie Hubbard and Bob Dylan come to mind.  Ray Bonneville belongs there too.  Born in Canada, he grew up in Boston, served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, worked as cab driver back in Boston, and then set out on the road in the seventies playin’ small clubs all across North America.  He was good enough as a musician and singer to appear on stage as the opening act for Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Dr. John. Like Dylan, he can be a one man band with his guitar, harmonica, and a rhythmic tappin’ foot.

Over the years, Ray has released eight albums and several have won him awards and critical acclaim.  His latest, At King Electric,  was recorded in Austin, the natural home of the roots blues.  It is blues at its dark loneliest Americana roots with songs of addiction, Codeine, and eternal drifting, Forever Gone.  The tune, Make a Hole In You, will indeed cut you to the core and South of the Blues takes you to a place where the downtrodden and forlorn can lose themselves.

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Ray is a fantastic songwriter and the imagery he invokes will probe deep into your soul. And the music is just……well …I encourage you download the album for yourself and find out.  Few albums I have heard over the last several years have grabbed me like this one.  From the deepest darkest places the blues can go, Ray has lifted up haunting portraits of misfortune, desolation, and emptiness that accompany all of us at one time or another on our lifetime journey….they are beautiful works of art and worthy of your time and attention.

Ray Bonneville – At King Electric (2018 Stonefly Records)

Workin that Big Brass Mojo with the Original Blues Brothers Band

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The band began as part of a whimsical skit on NBC’s Saturday Night Live back in 1978. Fronted by Dan Akroyd and Jim Belushi as Jake and Elwood, the Original Blues Brothers band generated a renewed interest in big brass rhythm and blues that literally swept the world spawning concerts, movies, and huge increases in the sales of rhythm & blues and soul music.  With the release of The Last Shade of Blue Before Black, they remind us again of just what all the hub bub was about.

The Original Blues Brothers Band featuring Steve Cropper and “Blue Lou” Marini are a talent laden group of musicians that, according to Lou,  like to spread the news about the blues, drink, party, and have fun (in no particular order).  The party atmosphere comes through loud and clear on the new album and they invite former band leader Paul Shaffer, Dr. John, Joe Louis Walker, Eddie Floyd, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, and Joe Morton along for the good times as special guests.

I really enjoyed their rendition of the Jimmy Reed‘s tune Baby What You Want Me To DoBlues in My Feet, Itch and Scratch, Sex Machine, and Don’t Forget about Jame Brown are some badass funk.  Joe Louis Walker aces Don’t Go No Further and the band ‘s cranks out a great cover of Got My Mojo Working. I also loved You Left the Water the Running.

With the holiday season upon us, this album makes a great stocking stuffer! And if you have a party, I can’t think of a better ice breaker to get the good times rollin’!!

The Original Blues Brothers Band – The Last Shade of Blue Before Black – Severn Records 2017