Joe Bonamassa Redemption cd review
Two-time GRAMMY-nominated blues-rock titan Joe Bonamassa returns with a brand new studio album, ‘Redemption’, which will be released on 21st September 2018 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group in Europe and J&R Adventures in North America.
Redemption, Bonamassa’s 13th solo studio album and third in a row of all original material, sees him at his most ambitious and diverse as he continues to redefine and push the barriers of blues-rock. It features a collection of 12 exhilarating songs that reflect the re-birth that he is currently going through. “I’m going through some other stuff in my life I didn’t expect to be going through. It’s a rising, it’s contrition, it’s acceptance, it’s everything. It’s painful, but knowing that there’s a rising coming,” he explains.
The album reunites Bonamassa with some of Nashville’s finest music minds such as Tom Hambridge, James House, Gary Nicholson as well as Richard Page, Dion Dimucci and continues his long creative relationship with Kevin Shirley. “From a Producer’s perspective, this is far and away the most challenging and diverse album that Joe has ever made, “says Shirley.
The album was recorded at various locations including, Blackbird Studios, Nashville TN, The Cave Australia, Sydney OZ, Studio At The Palms, Las Vegas NV, Criteria Hit Factory, Miami FL and Addiction Sound Studios, Nashville TN. It was once again recorded with a remarkable collection of musicians including drummer Anton Fig, bassist Michael Rhodes, keyboardist Reese Wynans, horn players Lee Thornburg and Paulie Cerra, harmony vocalist Gary Pinto, background singers Mahalia Barnes, Jade McRae, Juanita Tippins and Kevin Shirley introduced two extra guitar players, Kenny Greenberg and Doug Lancio.
In March this year on Joe's latest dates here in the UK we were treated to something very special and very rare too.He opened the show with 4 tracks from this album that was still 6 months away from being released.(The 4 were King Bee Shakedown,Evil Mama,Just Cos' You Can Don't Mean You Should and Self Inflicted Wounds)
How many artist's would have the confidence to do that but Joe know's his loyal fan base could accept it,then embrace it and rejoice in it too!!
I am privileged and fortunate to have lived with the album now for a month and the hardest working man in music has again produced a thing of beauty with music to move the soul and make the world a better place.
Anton Fig starts the album with the drum fill intro from Led Zeppelin's Rock N'Roll and we are off with all of the characteristic's of Joe's recent work with the stop start guitar riff filled out with horn's and the girl's backing vocals which are this time in the verse too that makes a change.Joe's riff at times is close to feed back and with held one finger notes too.
The producution from Kevin is amazing.Michael Rhodes's bass rumbles along side Anton's persistent insistent drum beat and when the horn's kick in they are so clear and Joe's first solo on the cd is lengthy and again close to feed back at times.
King Bee Shakedown is a 4 minute song that could raise a smile in any circumstances.Rolling guitar riff,horns,backing vocal's and a rockabilly feel and a wonderful chorus that will have toes tapping world wide and the quite incredible production skills of Kevin shining through and a live vibe full of vibrance and life.
Molly O has a Mountain Climbing 2 feel in the heavy guitar riff and Anton's drive of the song.Joe's vocal in the chorus on the held note shows how hard he has worked on this side of his technique and he possess's a world class vocal tone and melody.Joe's mid song solo starts slide before he rips a fast fingered route back to the main riff.
Deep In The Blues Again has a rolling guitar riff that stop starts with Anton never stopping his driving beat.Mid song slow down with Joe soloing over the band add libbing underneath before it goes back to the main riff.
Self Inflicted Wounds sounded like a Joe hit on it's first hearing live back in March and on cd this is a bonafide Joe classic.A ballad with Joe tearing his heart and soul out and showing what a voice he has too.The hair's on the back of my neck go up every time I play it.
The backing vocal's kick in mid song only adding to the vocal talent on display but I think it work's that it is just Joe's vocal heard on the verse as it is his pain.
His guitar solo starts with hints of Brian May before his trade mark tone kicks with his fingers a blur as he puts every ounce of feeling and soul he can into every note.Every note means something and he add lib solo's under the next chorus too before some breathless picking to end the song.Simply phenomenal.
Pick Up The Pieces is a smoky bar room shuffle with add libbing sax and tinkling ivories and Joe's lazy vocal drawl and a sax and slide guitar soloing mid song only add to the late night closed club ambience.
The Ghost of Macon Jones sees Joe trade vocals with Nashville country singer Jamey Johnson as they recount a cautionary tale of a rural renegade with Anton's drum rhythm the drving force behind the track.Different tone used for Joe's guitar solo too.
Just Cos' has ad libbing guitar melody soloing through out and the horns return with a vengeance and Michael's shows his class with the bass work underpinning the whole track.Joe's guitar solo is one of his finest with speed,dexterity and technique all prevalent.Reece has a wonderful Hammond piece before sees out the outro in lengthy pure solo form.
The title track starts on an acoustic with hint's of his Dust Bowl work and Reece's Hammond beefing out the sound as only he can.As the song explodes at the chorus the backing vocals again shine through.Mid song more Led Zeppelin feels to the main riff as Joe solo's in breath taking style as the song then dips to acoustics again.Wonderful light and shade to this song with Anton using every cymbal to great effect.
I've Got Some Mind Over What Matters is an autobiographical mid paced bluesy number with plenty of band interplay and no real guitar solo but more like melody picking.
Stronger Now In Broken Places sees just Joe's broken hearted vocal and acoustic picked piece showing that time can heal over time.In the live setting this will see tears flowing.
Love Is A Gamble sees out the album in fine style with a traditional blues number full of guitar doodlings and Michael's bass master class shining through.Throw in horns a plenty and Reece's fast fingered Hammond work out and Joe's stunning mid song solo with notes being held and thrown to the stars.
Redemption sees Joe Bonamassa digging deep into his emotions taking the listener into a cathartic experience for him and showing that as an artist he never stands still and only pushes himself and the blues genre to even greater heights.
Photo credit and used with thanks to Jen Rosenstein.