11 songs time-61:48
Blues-rock poster boy Joe Bonamassa’s newest release finds him veering closer to singer-songwriter territory while still sticking to his guitar attack. He does mellow out a bit with a few acoustic guitar forays. His soulful voice enhances everything he touches here. All songs are original and all but one are with the assistance of a co-writer. He surrounds himself with first call musicians. Anton Fig and Greg Morrow handle drums, Reese Wynans on piano and organ, Michael Rhodes on bass along with background singers and a small horn section. The songs contain various aspects of rock. blues-rock, gospel, jazz and even a touch of blues.
The fast paced “This Train” has a modern hard country tinge to it as it powers along with slide guitar, piano and occasional backing vocals. Aside from the vocal “Mountain Climbing” a bit of a Billy Squier feel to it with it’s incessant beat as it portrays mans’ everyday struggles. It features Joe’s string-bending guitar at its’ best. The song does tend to get a bit repetitive, but that’s only a small quibble. “Drive” is moody and the guitar tone, soloing and atmospherics owe a debt to Peter Green.
His vocal on “No Good Place For The Lonely” brings to mind James Dewar of Stone The Crows and Robin Trower fame. It’s a lovely, moody piece that makes good use of a string section. He lets loose a long soaring solo at songs’ end. The title song is moody with some Led Zeppelin-like crunchiness and mysteriousness to it. It closes out with some nice slide and straight guitar work. The first acoustic guitar song “The Valley Runs Low” is slow with a gospel feel.
“You Left Me Nothin’ But The Bill And The Blues” is guitar based blues=rock at its’ best that also features some pounding piano by Reese Wynans. Heavy tom-toms and guitar charge intp “Distant Lonesome Train”. “So take me down to the gates of hell on that distant lonesome train’. Distorted guitar jumps back and forth from left and right speakers. “How Deep This River Runs” goes back and forth from mellow to a lush heaviness.
He throws in a nice and mellow jazzy song in “Livin’ Easy” with acoustic guitar, piano and some moody sax by Mark Douthit. Things finish off with a slow burning horn infused blues in “What I’ve Known For A Very Long Time”.
This is my first full dose of Joe Bonamassa and I like what I hear. He presents strong songs while infusing them with his energetic powerhouse guitar. His soulful vocals hold your attention. Everything here is well crafted and performed. He gathered some fine musicians to back him here. That, his guitar skills and the collaborative song writing make for one fine listening experience.