As the reigning champ of blues-rock guitarists after Clapton’s generation, Joe Bonamassa attracts notice whenever he issues new music (and to the great delight of his fans, he does this often). Last month on France’s popular TV show Taratata, he introduced a new song destined for his as yet unnamed release slated for a September release. After a bevy of “non-main” releases that includes live DVDs, a fun funk-jazz side project and a second collaboration with blues belter Beth Hart, it might be high time to follow up on 2012’s Driving Towards The Daylight.
“Oh Beautiful!” follows the main game plan Joe B. has in store for these fresh set of recordings: he’s collaborated with crack songsmiths from the Nashville gang to come up with a large batch of new tunes. For “Oh Beautiful!,” his partner was James House, a long-time fixture in country music who’s penned singles for Diamond Rio, Dwight Yoakam and Martina McBride, as well as for himself.
Fans needn’t worry, though. In Bonamassa’s hands, the song he wrote with House isn’t even remotely country, it’s 100% JB. Following the solo-sung/heavy riffing pattern made famous by Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” Joe’s vocal is much more reserved, almost a blues lullaby, but that’s just foreboding. The full band crashes in with force, backing out again when it’s time for the leader to calmly deliver a few more verses. During the second instrumental section, Bonamassa tears off some urgent licks, the high point of the song.
This potent backing band features Carmine Rojas on bass, former Black County Communion cohort Derek Sherinian on keys, percussion legend Lenny Castro and the drummer and MVP of Rock Candy Funk Party, Tal Bergman.
Bonamassa stays so prolific, you can almost forget it’s been much longer than usual since he’s put out new material under his own name. After getting a taste of that via “Oh Beautiful!,” I’m ready for more of that. September can’t come soon enough.
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