Guitar Man (Documentary Review)

As an unavoidable topic on everyone’s mind as of late, the current global pandemic has taken a toll on the music and film industry in many ways. On the upside of this, musical artists have been able to concentrate on releasing great new albums, as well as some having the luxury to create documentaries of their careers thus far. One particular documentary, Guitar Man, is available via Video-On-Demand and for Digital purchase as of December 8, 2020 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Guitar Man looks at the career of famed Blues Rock Guitarist Joe Bonamassa. With his abundance of great solo albums out on the market these days, including October 2020’s Royal Tea, Bonamassa has developed a very solid career for himself that will carry into the future for years to come.

The documentary provides a great soundtrack that takes the audience from his childhood era to becoming a leading man. Having parents in the music industry, who put a special-sized guitar in Bonamassa’s hands at the age of four, certainly helped set the mood for what was to come. Fast forward to the age of 12, and Bonamassa was opening for his idol B.B. King, due to his diligence in learning to master Blues guitar so early in life. Other influences he grew up with were Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, and he would collaborate with the former on stage much later in life, in a grandiose English setting.

Initially setting the tone at the very beginning of Guitar Man, one can explore Bonamassa’s hometown of Utica, New York. Despite its lack of a vibrant Blues scene, the city still served as a good homebase for his early talents. Quiet and dedicated to his craft off stage, the guitarist thrived onstage, offering up the personality of the passionate Blues Rock musician that he was always meant to be. Meanwhile, his love for vintage guitars found him a collector of so many he could have his own museum if he so chose. Interestingly enough, however, his parents already owned their own music shop, one that they later called Bonamassa Guitars.

For this special documentary following the history of Blues and the career of a modern day Blues Rock hero, it is unusual that the man in the spotlight is a mere 43 years old. Then add in the fun twist that he has toured to the point of burnout with his older idols in a supergroup called Black Country Communion. This supergroup features the legendary Glenn Hughes, who cameos in this documentary, as well. The pair acknowledge that their dynamic really fits well together, as Bonamassa is well beyond his years in skill as well as writing techniques.

And then there’s the emotional side of the story. It’s no secret that the overwhelming emotions faced by every great artist have, at one time or another in their lives, driven them to the best part of their creativity. For example, heartbreak has created some highly-adored albums time and time again. This is no different here, and it is well-documented in the midst of Guitar Man, as is the idea that music truly is a universal language.

For top fans of Bonamassa, this documentary stands up proud and loud, while those who are not yet familiar can appreciate the somewhat lost art of Blues Rock from one of the best of its modern day virtuosos. Bonamassa has captured the perfection of the masters and originators of Blues Rock, which he then takes to a new level. He thrives onstage, whether he is incorporating his own vocals or sharing the wealth with other vocalists.

With its classic style, Guitar Man serves any Blues Rock music lover as a cherished keepsake that can be adored for years to come. And that is why Cryptic Rock recommends this informative film with a 4.5 out of 5 in rating.

Paramount Home Entertainment

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