Sometimes it is difficult to think of new words to describe someone who has become a legend, due to their hard work and virtuoso playing and I must admit that I felt this way when it came to review this latest album from Joe Bonamassa.
This album feels like a personal thank you from Joe to some of his British Blues Heroes and was recorded at Greenwich Music Time at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London on 7th July 2016. Saluting the likes of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page this album has a real vibrancy about it that lends a real dynamism to the recording.
It also feels that the whole band is having a great time, in fact one big party to which we are all invited. The band on this occasion were Michael Rhodes on bass, Reese Wynans on keyboards, Anton Fig on drums and Russ Irwin on rhythm guitar and backing vocals.
Joe Bonamassa obviously plays sublime guitar throughout the album using the beautiful tone that he produces to maximum effect, adding texture and hitting you around the chops when he feels you need it. British Blues Explosion though makes you feel a part of the magic that is happening. The capturing of live shows can be difficult to execute as the intensity of the evening is sometimes lost, but this was not the case here. The love that Joe has for these tracks and these heroes just shines through making this an intense listening extravaganza, packed with gems like Double Crossing Time and Plynth (Water Down the Drain) which are superb.
I loved the 60’s / 70’s vibe from the keys which adds an additional dimension plus the funk from the bass guitar. If you want to hear musicians that make the complex seem effortless then look no further than this band. The drumming is measured throughout, bringing moments of intensity when required, the guitar and backing vocals help to add additional texture.
Tea For One / I Can’t Quit You Baby is brilliant, swagger and amazing riffs rolled into one. The album, quite simply, has something for everyone – sublime riffs, elegant playing, great camaraderie within the band, in which each is allowed to shine, vivid, textured tone, toe tapping, body swaying fantastic collection of tracks.
Of course Joe Bonamassa can play guitar, that was a given way before this album was created but what I took was just how much fun he was seeming to have and how much love and respect went into each well crafted, thoughtful rendition of some amazing classics. Do yourself a favour, pour yourself a long drink sit back and relax as you are about to listen to a classic album.
Joe Bonamassa is releasing British Blues Explosion Live on 18th May 2018 and it will be available on CD / DVD / Blu-Ray and 3 LP vinyl via Mascot Label Group in Europe and J&R Adventures in North America.