Last week, blues rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa released his 12th studio album, Blues of Desperation, via Provogue / Mascot Label Group. The LP contains 11 original tracks spanning 61 minutes.
Blues of Desperation finds Joe pushing his abilities to their max. Yes, you expect a few blues-driven cuts like "You Left Me Nothin But The Bill And The Blues" where he shreds some tasty guitar, but songs like the album's title track see him going farther than ever with sound production and achieving transcendental vibes akin to Led Zeppelin.
The album was recorded in a five day period at Nashville's Grand Victor Sound Studios and was produced by Kevin Shirley. The band members on the release include bassist Michael Rhodes, drummers Greg Morrow and Anton Fig, keyboardists Reese Wynans and Bobby Wood, horn players Lee Thornburg, Paulie Cerra, and Mark Douthit, and vocalists Mahalia Barnes, Jade McRae, and Juanita Tippins.
Below, you can watch a series of YouTube videos featuring interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of Bonamassa, Shirley, and many of the musicians who were involved in the recording process:
"The Valley Runs Low" is a gentle number featuring acoustic guitar, warm organ, background harmonies, and a steady beat. The two-drummer combo of Greg Morrow and Anton Fig are perhaps best felt in "Distant Lonesome Train," where they help to give an appropriate driving quality to the song's rhythm. Kevin Shirley's genius is also felt here, as Joe's solo pans between channels, giving the listener a full auditory experience.
As you listen to Blues of Desperation, you'll notice that the band, with their seasoned experience, help to push Joe and give his songs a nice sense of variety. "Livin' Easy" highlights this point, with smokey jazz horns and piano. "What I've Known For A Very Long Time" wraps up the album in style, once again spotlighting the band delivering a relaxed groove and putting Joe's vocals and guitar style on full display.
Once they find a formula that works, many bands and musicians will stick to that and not change. Joe Bonamassa is one of the most talented guitarists in the world, and Blues of Desperation pushes Joe outside the box. He doesn't stray from his traditional blues-based rock style, but reinvents his music in subtle ways that fit naturally into the songs.
The songs we like most are "Mountain Climbing," "Drive," "Blues Of Desperation," "You Left Me Nothin' But The Bill And The Blues," "Distant Lonesome Train," "How Deep This River Runs," "Livin' Easy," and the perfect slow-blues closer "What I've Known For A Very Long Time."
Blues of Desperation is available on Amazon. You can also stream the full album above for free, via Spotify.
For the latest music, news, and tour dates from Joe Bonamassa, check out his Zumic artist page.