Joe Bonamassa Time Clocks cd review

As we have come to expect even a pandemic cannot slow down Joe Bonamassa and if he can't get to play live well his creativity never stops and his new album Time Clocks is released on October 29 via Provogue (Europe) and J&R Adventures (North America).

For the new studio album, Bonamassa hit the studio with longtime collaborators Kevin Shirley as producer and manager/business partner Roy Weisman as executive producer.

Recorded in New York City at Germano Studios/The Hit Factory, the band includes Steve Mackey (bass), Lachy Doley (piano), Bunna Lawrie (didgeridoo), Bobby Summerfield (percussion), and Late Night with David Letterman's Anton Fig (drums and percussion), along with Mahalia Barnes, Juanita Tippins, and Prinnie Stevens on backing vocals. 
The album was mixed by Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Toto, Bon Jovi), and the fantastic artwork on this album was created by famous graphic artist Hugh Syme (Rush, Aerosmith, Whitesnake).

Time is the over riding factor on this album with Joe's reflections of time gone by, the here and now and what is to come in a collection of music amongst Joe's finest as he continues his path to develop his sound and song writing and storytelling to new heights.

The short instrumental Pilgrimage leads into Notches the first single and an Eastern tinged opening picked intro before the band and Joe's main guitar riff kick in and a swinging feel to the riff as it dips in and out with wonderful use of light and shade.The chorus has wonderful backing vocals as Anton drives the song along at pace and then back to the main riff. The mid song guitar solo shows beautiful tone and feel and picked notes all at ease with no need for a blur of notes. Mid song breakdown before back to the main guitar riff and chorus with Joe telling he has miles under his wheels and notches on his walking cane. 
Will stun in the live setting what a great opener.

The Heart That Never Waits is a a blues swing along with Kevin Shirley's fantastic production a thing of beauty with every instrument given time to breath and all have their place.
Another superb chorus with Joe trading vocal lines with the backing vocals and also his add lib guitar flashes. Joe tells us time is the healer and the train that never comes and the heart that never waits and he is moving on.A beautiful bluesy guitar solo leads back into the chorus as Joe continues with guitar flashes and then solo's in the outro in another sure fire live favourite.

Time Clocks has a country feel picked riff after a quiet and loud intro with Joe's vocal full of emotion and showing again how his voice has developed over time into a world class instrument. Builds up into a big chorus with more backing vocals as Joe tells us he was never a puncher of time clocks. Mid song loud and quiet shows off the production before Joe's slide guitar solo is again picked notes making each one count.
The outro guitar solo is again unhurried and only adds to the feel of story telling that Joe is a master at and more live favourites to add to the set list.

Questions And Answers stops and starts with a Latin influenced number with big backing vocals added to the verse and a different drum rhythm from Anton adding to the mix and a smoky club feel to the proceedings.

Minds Eye starts on a piano and picked electric intro before acoustic guitars are added. Joe's breathless vocal is exemplary makes you live every word. The chorus explodes with Joe and the backing vocals soaring to the heavens and more Joe guitar flashes before back to the original picked guitar riff. The band dynamics and production again shine and the guitar solo springs out of the mix and is again never there to outshine the song and only adds to the aural pleasure.

Curtain Call sees Joe go into Led Zep mode with orchestral swathes and a stop start guitar riff and military drum pattern before a great chorus with Joe more to the fore although still with backing vocal back up still. Mid song sees more Led Zep riffing with a picked guitar solo.

The Loyal Kind is wonderful and has me pressing play over and over again. I believe a Bernie Marsden co write with a plaintive Joe vocal over an acoustic picked riff and percussion before it builds up to a huge chorus with electric guitar stop start riffing with Joe and his backing vocals entourage at full affect. I like the way on this the backing vocals start in the pre chorus as it builds to a crescendo and then back to the acoustic picked riff. Light and shade working in collusion with the production to perfection. Fantastic mid song guitar solo showing off his tone and a mesmerising band workout underneath too. The song ends where it came in with acoustic picking. Will be worth the ticket price alone with suitable lighting.

Hanging On A Loser sees a bluesy return with a funky number with Lachey Doley's keys more prominent and a real groove to the rhythm and Steve Mackey's bass bouncing underneath.
Backing vocals add a real gloss to the chorus while Joe asks if it's so bad why are you hanging on a loser like me. A slide guitar solo follows before it's all taken low before building up to the chorus again.

Known Unknowns ends the album with a mid paced number with an acoustic main guitar riff with lots of Joe electric add libbing over and underneath the main chorus where again there is superb backing vocals. Mid song guitar solo leads into the chorus before Joe finishes the album with a guitar solo musical tour de force for 2 and a half minutes with the band not missing a beat.

Time Clocks sees Joe in a reflective mood and another stellar set of songs for us all to digest and reflect on and be in awe of the best guitarist of this generation and know he is still only scratching the surface on a career that few can match.

Photos Credited to and used with thanks: © Eleanor Jane


Joe Bonamassa’s new album ‘Time Clocks’ is released by Provogue/Mascot Label Group on October 29th via

Joe tours the UK in April and May 2022. Tickets:  


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