As Joe Bonamassa grows his reputation as one of the world’s greatest guitar players, he is also evolving into a charismatic blues-rock star and singer-songwriter of stylistic depth and emotional resonance. His ability to connect with live concert audiences is transformational, and his new album, Black Rock, brings that energy to his recorded music more powerfully than ever before. The tenth solo album and eighth studio release of his career — as well as his fifth consecutive with producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, etc.) — the disc adds an enlivening dose of ‘world’ vibes to Bonamassa’s virtuoso mix of ‘60s-era British blues-rock (à la Beck and Clapton) and roots-influenced Delta sounds.
Just awarded the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award at the U.K.’s prestigious Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards, blues-rock guitar hero and singer-songwriter Joe Bonamassa is set to release his tenth full-length solo album, Black Rock, on March 23, 2010. Bonamassa’s sixth release on his own J&R Adventures imprint, the disc re-teams him with producer Kevin Shirley (Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin), who most recently produced 2009’s The Ballad of John Henry, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Blues Chart in February of last year. The album release will be followed by a multi-country tour taking Bonamassa to the U.S., U.K., Europe, Russia, Japan and Australia.
The album was recorded at, and named for, Black Rock Studios in Santorini, Greece. “With this album, we wanted to explore a ‘world’ feeling, and this was the inspiration behind going to record in Greece and using some of the best Greek musicians to add a little flavor to a couple of the tracks. But it’s by no means a ‘world’ album. We wanted Joe’s usual youthful and energetic tones to play alongside the worldly vibes of the Greek bouzouki and clarino,” said Shirley. Bonamassa adds, “It was the kind of record Kevin and I wanted to make. We needed to rock again a bit like on my first album. It’s youthful, like going back to your
childhood.” Throughout, Bonamassa is again backed by the stellar players Carmine Rojas (bass), Anton Fig, Bogie Bowles (both on drums)
and Rick Melick (keyboards).
Joe Bonamassa has signed up blues legend B.B. King for a duet on his new album. The song they will perform together is a rendition of the Willie Nelson-penned song, “Night Life,” which appeared on King’s 1967 album Blues Is King. Shirley says about the experience, “This is a rollicking Stonesy-vibe version of the Willie Nelson song on which B.B. King duets with Joe, both vocally and on his famous Lucille guitar. What a joy and an honor to work with the legend who is possibly the pivot point and unifying musician between blues and rock.”
Other tracks appearing on Black Rock include Jeff Beck’s “Spanish Boots,” Leonard Cohen’s poetic “Bird On A Wire,” Otis Rush’s “Three Times A Fool,” Bobby Parker’s “Steal Your Heart Away,” Blind Boy Fuller’s “Baby, You Gotta Change Your Mind,” John Hiatt’s “I Know A Place,” and James Clark’s “Look Over Yonder’s Wall,” as well as the originals “When The Fire Hits The Sea,” “Wandering Earth,” “Athens To Athens,” and “Blue and Evil.”
Bonamassa was named Best Blues Guitarist in Guitar Player Magazine’s 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards for the third consecutive year. Guitar Player associate editor Matt Blackett has said, “He’s an old soul, and that comes through in his bends, vibrato, singing voice, and note choices, which — which each passing year — get more restrained and refined.”