May 14, 2018 Joe Bonamassa – British Blues Explosion Live (Live Album Review)
Virtuoso of the Blues, Grammy nominated Guitarist/Singer-Songwriter Joe Bonamassa is stoked to announce his next live album, British Blues Explosion Live, is set for release on Friday, May 18, 2018 through J&R Adventures.
Electrifying, on British Blues Explosion Live, Bonamassa and his band made up of Michael Rhodes (bass), Reese Wynans (keyboard), Anton Fig (drums), and Russ Irwin (rhythm guitar) pay tribute to British guitar heroes Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Giving accolade to his biggest influences, British Blues Explosion Live was recorded on July 7, 2016 at Greenwich Music Time at The Old Royal Naval College based in Greenwich, London during Bonamassa’s short but memorable tour of Britain.
A guitar legend himself, Bonamassa’s journey began in the Empire State of New York where he was born in 1977. Born to play, at the age of 4 Bonamassa was exposed to iconic music by his father who loved British Blues Rock. Before he was a teenager, Bonamassa was already honing his craft, Rockin’ on guitar, and playing in bands. Bonamassa would go on to release 15 solo albums, 11 of which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Chart, beginning with 2000’s A New Day Yesterday culminating to British Blues Explosion Live. Along the way, Bonamassa has played alongside Blues kings like Derek Trucks, Buddy Guy, and even Clapton himself.
Highly active in music, Bonamassa teamed up with Blues songstress Beth Hart and the duo have collaborated and released several albums including Black Coffee, released on January 26, 2018. Bonamassa is also the guitarist for the Hard Rock supergroup Black Country Communion playing alongside Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), Jason Bonham (Son of Led Zeppelin’s late drummer John Bonham), and Derek Sherinian (Sons of Apollo, Dream Theater). Giving back, Bonamassa helps young minds to grow through music via his non-profit organization, Keeping The Blues Alive, which provides funds and resources to keep music education in schools.
Over an hour and a half of classic Blues Rock, British Blues Explosion Live is a tantalizing showcase of 14 songs which Bonamassa and company dig into with the unbridled spirit from which these tracks were originally conceived decades ago. Beginning with Jeff Beck, Bonamassa pays homage via a sonically pleasing rendition of “Beck’s Bolero-Rice Pudding” and then a vibrant “Let Me Love You, Baby” in which a subtle breakdown sees Bonamassa going crazy with Blues emotion. “Plynth (Water Down The Drain)” and “Spanish Boots” make for fine high-powered rockers giving Beck a worthy tribute.
The Guitar God Eric Clapton is saluted through covers of his solo works and one song from his most influential band Cream. Starting with the first of two selections off Clapton’s 1974 hit album, 461 Ocean Boulevard, Bonamassa’s version of “MainLine Florida” will make a listener want to put the top down and cruise down the coast. The second cover off Clapton’s aforementioned album, “Motherless Children” sees Bonamassa keeping the feel of the original and the era it represents. Next, Bonamassa takes on Cream’s “SWLABR” where he does the revolutionary band justice on the strings of his guitar. Well done, the Clapton tribute rolls on via “Little Girl,” “Pretending,” and a definitive slow Blues jam on “Double Crossing Time” where Bonamassa takes his time ripping note for note.
Climbing the highest mountain, Bonamassa fearlessly dives into the works of perhaps the greatest Rock band of all-time, Led Zeppelin. On “Tea For One-I Can’t Quit You Baby,” Bonamassa gives a slaying tribute to Jimmy Page and grooves out on “Boogie With Stu.” Magnetic, the 15 minute long “How Many More Times” is a Blues saga complete with extra effects which only add to the musical fireworks by Bonamassa and his band, executing a supreme dedication to Jimmy Page and all the members of Led Zeppelin. Closing the show, Bonamassa’s instrumental “Black Winter-Django” is stunning amongst a setlist of historic Blues tunes.
In supreme fashion, on British Blues Explosion Live, Bonamassa offers up a respectful and honorary tribute to the artists who paved the way for generations of Blues guitarists. Keeping the Blues alive, Bonamassa’s mission is to spread the word of these quintessential artists and their music in order to educate the Blues musicians of today and tomorrow.
Having said all of this, British Blues Explosion Live is the perfect way for Blues fans to rediscover this music and for new listeners to enjoy these classics for the first time with several formats to choose from, CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, and a 3 LP set. A must listen for Blues fans, CrypticRock gives British Blues Explosion Live 5 out of 5 stars.