Joe Bonamassa is a contemporary blues guitar hero. What I like most about him is that he is not a Stevie Ray Vaughan clone like Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Although I love Kenny Wayne Shepherd, his style is rooted squarely in the SRV school of guitar playing. He’ll never be truly original to me.
Bonamassa, on the other hand, hasn’t been swept up in the SRV clone wars and has been able to make some interesting music as a result. I couldn’t imagine a song like “Quarryman’s Lament” appearing on a Kenny Wayne Shepherd album. It’s just too damn original. Take a listen.
The instrumentation is interesting, the recording is fantastic and, above all else, the guitar playing is top-notch. Bonamassa’s lead guitar playing, at times, reminds me of Eric Johnson. He uses the same pentuplet runs and a very similar tone as Johnson’s. Interestingly, Eric Johnson plays a Fender Strat and Joe Bonamassa plays a Gibson Les Paul. Two very different guitars can make roughly the same tone in an over-driven, high-gain environment.
As an independent artist, Bonamassa’s music is completely under his control. That means his music is fresh – no corporate preservatives. So if you’re looking for fresh blues-rock, look no further. Joe Bonamassa is what you’re looking for. And if his album gets stale, don’t worry. He releases a fresh album about once a year.
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give in and around Baltimore, visit www.ewguitar.com.