Joe Bonamassa is back with a new album, Redemption. This is his thirteenth solo album (plus countless live albums, albums with Beth Hart, Black Country Communion albums, and albums from other side projects. It’s fair to say Joe Bonamassa’s output is prolific, but despite this, he never compromises on quality.
With some artists you know pretty much what to expect from a new album, but with Joe Bonamassa things are always more unpredictable. You can predict it’ll be a great album packed with top quality guitar playing, but beyond that things are constantly changing as he pushes himself to explore new ideas – or is pushed by Kevin Shirley. Sometimes he covers songs by Blues legends, or he might have two drummers instead of the usual one – things that make him change the way he plays. On this album there are two extra guitarists, Kenny Greenberg and Doug Lancio. It’s his willingness to try new things and push his boundaries that means that a new album is always going to be something different to what he’s done before.
The opening track “Evil mama” starts with a drum piece that’s very reminiscent of Led Zeppelin – you half expect him to launch into a Led Zep cover. The horns though show this is no Led Zep song, it’s definitely the Blues, and it’s one hell of a good opening track. The guitar solo deserves particular praise.
Check it out..
From there the pace picks up significantly with “King Bee shakedown”. It’s a great boogie track.
I really like “The ghost of Macon Jones” – it’s the closest to what I’d describe as “Classic Bonamassa”. It’s hard to pick a faourite track though – there’s a lot of diversity on this album with so many really strong tracks. A good candidate has to be the title track though, “Redemption”, which is one hell of a song, and the female backing vocals on the chorus really work well.
“Stronger now in broken places” is a soft acoustic track, primarily just Joe singing and playing an acoustic guitar (with just a very soft barely audible bit of background keyboards). That simplicity and quietness really makes it stand out from the rest of the album, and the lyrics have a very thoughtful introspective feel. It’s a beautiful song, and for me it probably just edges out “Redemption” as my favourite track, but having said that, I’m sure my favourite will change depending on my mood at the time.
Once again Joe Bonamassa has pushed his boundaries and produced a stunningly good album. An essential purchase for all Blues lovers.
“Redemption” will be released on 21st September 2018
1. Evil mama
2. King bee shakedown
3. Molly O’
4. Deep in the blues again
5. Self inflicted wounds
6. Pick up the pieces
7. The ghost of Macon Jones
8. Just ‘cos you can don’t mean you should
10. I’ve got some mind over what matters
11. Stronger now in broken places
12. Love is a gamble