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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl album review

Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl album review
Released on J&R Adventures. Release date: Available now

As many will know, I’m not a huge blues fan, unless it’s really blues that rocks and Joe Bonamassa along with a number of other players ala Jeff Healey (RIP), Gary Moore (RIP), Kenny Wayne-Shepherd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Aynsley Lister, Walter Trout, etc, to name just a few all possess the ability to do just that.

Joe Bonamassa though is possibly one of my own personal favorites in that category and vocally he often reminds me of Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company) and it’s clear he’s been influenced by Rodgers, as he includes his own interpretation of Free’s 'Heartbreaker' on this latest album here, ‘Dust Bowl.’
It’s an album where, as on his last album ‘Black Rock,’ he has producer Kevin Shirley (Black Country Communion, Journey, Iron Maiden) onboard once again, who does a fine job.

Opening with the grooving ‘Slow Train’ Joe sounds smooth and very slick, which while it’s slow to mid paced, it still has that rocking vibe. Love the build up for the intro.

Title track ‘Dust Bowl’ itself starts with perhaps an almost Pink Floyd type of feel here with the vibrato sound Joe uses.
Again, much like the opener it’s generally in a slower vein and almost eerie in places, but yes, still very much grooving.

Joe has once more pulled in some name guests to join his performance on this album and next track ‘Tennessee Plates,’ is a fun run with John Hiatt and Vince Gill both onboard and it’s an upbeat jingly jangly sounding run through, of course with that southern country rocking feel. Great stuff, especially the final line of the last verse, ‘… making Tennessee Plates!’

Dark and moody, true rocking blues next for ‘The Meaning of the Blues,’ which shift gears throughout and what an excellent solo from the man and the overall atmospheric sound captured here and throughout the album is wonderful.

Time for a little Bouzouki from Joe for the intro of ‘Black Lung Heartache,’ that then almost gets into a meaty rocking blues Led Zeppelin type backing riff, but some seriously nice slide guitar work too.

‘You’d Better Watch Yourself,’ is a more up tempo rocking blues number, that’s just speaks for itself, to keep things balanced.

On ‘The Last Matador of Bayonne,’ it’s an epic like huge slower blues piece where Joe plays a beautiful soulful and yet ripping solo, which some haunting trumpet in the background. Brilliant!

Joe’s Black Country Communion band mate Glenn Hughes joins him to share lead vocal duties on Free’s ‘Heartbreaker’ next and Joe duly keeps the legend of Paul Kossoff’s playing alive with some serious nice guitar work. Wow!

Sirens introduces and closes the dark heavy groove of the Michael Kamen / Tim Curry written ‘No Love on the Street’ which also features Beth Hart sharing some vocals too as it drifts up and down and yes of course, not without yet more stunning solo work from Joe.
This guy deserves to be so much more popular than he’s ever given credit for.

‘The Whale That Swallowed Jonah,’ next picks up the pace some with an almost twelve bar backing riff and it rocks well with some backing, driving piano, some Mandolin too and you cannot help but tap your feet along with this one, it’s class!

A little honky tonk style piano and shuffle alongside Vince Gill next on ‘Sweet Rowena,’ drives this one on. Well done guys.

The song ‘Prisoner’ originally from the movie, ‘The Eyes of Laura Mars,’ sung previously by Barbara Streisand closes the album in a soulful manner from Joe and here it grows through his playing into a massive epic number.

A great album indeed, which once more shows that Joe Bonamassa certainly demands so much respect and it’s clear to me that so many of the artists that have inspired him, recognize just that, as they frequently play with the guy.

‘Dust Bowl’ is a must buy album for blues and guitar lovers everywhere, thanks for the music Joe, looking forward to the next one … Oh, now where that’s new BCC album got to …? Here it is!
Time to get listening to more of the man’s playing!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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