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. 2009 was a big year for Bonamassa. He was awarded the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award at the U.K.’s prestigious Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards. . He was also named Best Blues Guitarist in Guitar Player Magazine’s 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards for the third consecutive year. In May ’09, he played to a sold out crowd at London’s Royal Albert Hall, arguably the most prestigious concert venue in the world. During the show, Bonamassa’s hero, Eric Clapton, joined him on stage for a joint-performance of Clapton’s hit “Further On Up The Road.” And, 2010 started with a bang – Guitar World dubbed Bonamassa “The Blues Rock Titan” and his song, “Lonesome Road Blues,” is a part of Guitar Hero V’s New Blues Masters Track Pack. Keeping with his blues roots but fluently moving between rock n’ roll and international sounds, 2010 was not only a new decade but a new era for Bonamassa. Last year also coincided with Bonamassa’s twentieth year as a professional musician, an extraordinary timeline for a young artist just into his ’30s. A child prodigy, Bonamassa was finessing Stevie Ray Vaughan licks when he was seven and by the time he was ten, had caught B.B. King’s ear. After first hearing him play, King said, “This kid’s potential is unbelievable. He hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface. He’s one of a kind.” By age 12, Bonamassa was opening shows for the blues icon and went on to tour with venerable acts including Buddy Guy, Foreigner, Robert Cray, Stephen Stills, Joe Cocker and Gregg Allman. Bonamassa circles the globe playing an average of 200 shows a year, and his mind-blowing guitar wizardry and electrifying stage presence are selling out progressively larger venues all the time. The OC Register’s Robert Kinsler has written, “Whether in a club or outdoors at a festival, something magnetic happens when Bonamassa steps to the front of the stage, leans his head back and simply lets loose.”
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