When writing reviews about 41-year-old multi-faceted American guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa I struggle to know where to start, I mean it is Joe Bonamassa we’re talking about here.
Joe Bonamassa is just, well, Joe Bonamassa and anyone who has heard of this New Hartford, New York born superstar will know exactly what I mean.
Bonamassa has many strings to his bow and can be seen in many different guises from his solo work, his work with Grammy nominated blues, rock and soul singer and fellow American Beth Hart, His funk outfit Rock Candy Funk Party, and in his rock supergroup Black Country Communion.
Joe Bonamassa is a blues player at heart, and JB must the hardest touring and hardest working exponent and ambassador for the blues around today, Joe is single-handedly ‘Keeping the Blues Alive’.
Some might argue that a pasty white boy has no business paying the blues, what right has he got to play the blues because “to play the blues, you have to live the blues!”. Whilst that may have been true, there are many white blues players on the scene today who have earned the right to be there.
Joe Bonamassa is one such player and is at the top of that list. Joe is not trying to rewrite the blues or create blues of his own, far from it. Bonamassa is playing homage to the legends that have gone before him and shaped the music we know today whilst keeping the music fresh.
Joe’s idol is of course the great Eric Clapton of The Yardbirds, The Bluesbreakers and Cream fame and Eric was really they guy that inspired Bonamassa to be guitar player he is today. Joe has the upmost respect and admiration for those that have gone before him and has toured in tribute of ‘The three Kings’ Albert King, B.B. King and Freddie King and Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf with his ‘Muddy Wolf Live at Red Rocks’ DVD.
The British Blues Explosion
The blues originated in the Mississippi Delta on Southern plantations in the 19th Century. Its inventors were slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves who sang as they toiled in the cotton and vegetable fields. While blues lyrics often deal with personal adversity, the music itself goes far beyond self-pity. The blues is also about overcoming hard luck, saying what you feel, ridding yourself of frustration, letting your hair down, and simply having fun. The best blues is visceral, cathartic, and starkly emotional. From unbridled joy to deep sadness, no form of music communicates more genuine emotion.
In the early the sixties in England, there were several musicians who wanted to play this deep south blues music, Chicago Blues as it became known. There were two groups at the time pioneering this music and they were The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds; the latter being synonymous with producing a plethora of blues-based rock music with the electric guitar as the instrument of choice.
Eric Clapton was at the forefront of this music with The Yardbirds and his playing was a real factor in the bands rise to fame. Clapton departed the group after the bands move away from the traditional blues style and was replaced by Jeff Beck and then Jimmy Page, each bringing new techniques and re-imagining ways to play electric blues. Distortion, Wah Wah Pedals, Fuzz Tones, feedback and more techniques were introduced. This was called The British Blues Explosion and things were never the same again, and where the three were born and raised became affectionately known as the ‘Surrey Delta’ much to the annoyance of some Americans.
In 2016 Joe Bonamassa embarked on a short 5 date tour of the UK labelled as the ‘The British Blues Explosion’ tour paying tribute to his British blues heroes.
A live recording of this tour, recorded at Greenwich Music Time at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London on July 7th 2016 is to be released on Friday 18th May on CD/DVD/Blueray & vinyl via Mascot Label Group.
British Blues Explosion Live Official Trailer
The five-piece band included Michael Rhodes (Bass), Reese Wynans (Keyboards), Anton Fig (Drums) and Russ Irwin (Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals).
Joe passionately believes in the need for this and future generations of blues musicians to continue to explore the music of these three icons of blues history. “If it wasn’t for certain British musicians of the early 1960s, the Blues may very well never have exploded into Rock music as we know it today, and indeed may have passed into history,” says Joe.
The British Blues Explosion is a truly stunning tribute to Joe’s British Blues heroes and features breathtaking performances of the music of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. This British Blues Explosion is a must for any Blues fan, any Joe Bonamassa Fan and and Clapton, Beck, and Page fan. Joe salutes the Blues in the only way he knows how with complete proficiency and dexterity backed by some on the worlds greatest musicians.
The DVD and Blu-ray includes amazing bonus content such as Joe performing “Taxman” Live at the Cavern Club, Joe being honoured with a “Brick In The Wall”, the British Blues Explosion Explained by Mick Wall and a photo gallery of the British Blues Explosion UK Tour.