Joe Bonamassa – Driving Towards The Daylight (2012)

Share this:

It’s become a late winter/spring ritual here to survey a new Joe Bonamassa release, and the additional involvement of a fully recording, touring band (Black Country Communion) and various one-off side projects (such as last fall’s really good collaboration with soul belter Beth Hart) have barely slowed down Joe’s pace of producing new material for his own still hot solo career.

This year’s offering is entitled Driving Towards The Daylight, another platter of heavy blues cast with a hard stomping rock bent. The new twist, if you will, is the introduction of other guitarists to push Bonamassa further (Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford, Brad’s son Harrison, Pat Thrall, ex-Beach Boys Blondie Chaplin), but Bonamassa is clearly self-motivated. The more notable shift is the scaling back on the original tunes and a heavier reliance on covers. This time, the covers trump Bonamassa’s own compositions, which, while all competent, are beginning to sound like rewrites of his songs from he recent prior albums. “Dislocated Boy” is another songs that seeks—and largely succeeds–to capture the spirit of mid-twentieth century country folk and Delta blues and shoot it through a amped up guitar filter, but I’m more apt to reach for the sound-alike “Ballad Of John Henry” first. The title track (video below) is the album’s first single has some soul and displays Bonamassa’s singer-songwriter side, but the song doesn’t possess the hooks that keep it lingering in the consciousness long after it ends.

The good news is that the covers are a strong cross-section of Bonamassa’s passions, and he gives them respectful and sometimes inspired treatment. It all starts with Robert Johnson’s “Stones In My Passway,” where he turns Johnson’s three-chord signature into a monster riff played in the pocket over Anton Fig’s driving beat. A little Jimmy Page-styled slide in instrumental break doesn’t hurt, either. Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking” kicks off with a snippet of some old discourse from Chester Arthur Burnett himself about describing a calypso “jungle” beat right before Bonamassa & band dives right into a vigorous illustration of what he’s talking about. “I Got All You Need” is not one of the better known Willie Dixon songs, but after hearing Joe B. tearing into it, you’re apt to be left wondering why that is so. Yet another old Tom Waits tune is recast, too, as Bonamassa soaks “New Coat Of Paint” with the blues and tears off one of the guitar solo highlights of the record. And finally, Bill Withers’ “Lonely Town Lonely Street” is given a Bad Company attitude while keeping Wither’s tension intact.

Though a little more uneven than The Ballad Of John Henry, Black Rock, Dust Bowl and Don’t Explain, Driving Towards The Daylight has enough Bonamassa goodness in it to keep his fans coming back. The 2012 release to get first, however, remains the one that presents Joe Bonamassa at his very best, the live DVD Beacon Theater – Live From New York.

Driving Towards The Daylight is scheduled to go on sale on May 22, by J&R Adventures.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B007R3AZNK” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B007YOC5XK” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B0074JODP8″ /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B0074JOCIG” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B004LSJCJM” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B004RLN3QG” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B0033XUHKY” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B003C2TGPI” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001PCJG52″ /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B003XQRZ7E” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B005FLX2WC” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B005MW68RK” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B004Z185RU” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B006TXDRPC” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B005OGYHAY” /]

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
Share this:
Close