Joe Bonamassa. Blues of Desperation Album Review

Posted on 13 March 2016
By Chris High
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Joe Bonamassa is clearly not an artist who likes to let the grass grow beneath his feet. Recorded in five days in Nashville, with Kevin Shirley at the production helm, the 38 year old Blues-Rock Giant has lain down possibly the finest album of his career to date with Blues of Desperation and, arguably, one of the finest Blues-Rock albums of all time.

What makes Bonamassa’s twelfth album so good? The intensity, vibrancy, energy and out-and-out galvanised zeal that exudes from each and every track makes this a creation that cannot fail to resonate with everybody who appreciates solid Blues.

Played, written and constructed in a manner by which newcomers to the genre will associate as much as those who have delighted in the work the elder masters such as Muddy Waters, BB King and John Mayall, this is not to say that Blues of Desperation is in any way unoriginal. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Each track sparkles with “the new” in the way Christmas tinsel sparkles brightest on Christmas Eve, yet still hangs on to the deeply important traditions that aficionados will embrace and cherish like newborns.

Take the title track for instance, with its deep underscore of bass over which is laid a heartfelt lyric and some rip-roaring guitar work only the very best can get away with. Then compare this with the fun that is had with You Left Me Nothin’ But The Bill and The Blues, then you will truly appreciate how Joe Bonamassa is maturing as both a player and a lyricist, unafraid to take things to a whole new level with regards to experimentation, whilst holding onto the integrity of his own imperious standards.

Stand out tracks can be said to be tracks 1 through to 11, but in the manner of judge and jury then the choice is that of Track 8, Distant Lonesome Train, which simply drips with an obsession of pefection on every level, mixing the musicianship with such vivid lyrical imagery it is impossible not to want to feel as though this is being played live through your sound system. Without doubt this, it would be fair to say, is so intense that sound systems may spontaneously self-combust such is its raw power.

Of course there are mellower tracks – including the quite stunning closer What I’ve Known For A Very Long Time and Drive – but essentially, with the near-anthemic Mountain Climbing absolutely busting a gut to appear somewhere very soon on a stage, Joe Bonammassa’s Blues of Desperation is a thing of absolute beauty that may well have raised the Blues-Rock bar tenfold in a single session.

Joe Bonamassa
Blues of Desperation
Producer: Kevin Shirley
Joe Bonamassa (Guitar & Vocals), Anton Fig & Greg Morrow (Drums), Michael Rhodes (Bass), Reece Wynans (Keys), Lee Thornburg, Paulie Cerra, Mark Douthit (Horns), Mahalia Barnes, Jade McCrae, Juanita Tiipins (Backing Vocals)
March 25th, 2016
PR Rating: ***** Jaw Dropping
Joe Bonamassa Will be Appearing Live Across The Country From This Month. For Tickets: