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Joe Bonamassa

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dan MacIntosh, Dec 6, 2018.

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  1. Dan MacIntosh

    Dan MacIntosh Active Member Thread Starter

    Norwalk, CA
    I've noticed folks have a sort of love/hate relationship with Joe Bonamassa. I recently saw him play live, and was quite impressed. What are the pros and cons with the guy?
  2. thxphotog

    thxphotog Camera Nerd

    Los Angeles, CA
    Pros: Self deprecating. Great sense of humor. Truly a gear nerd. Not afraid to take millions of dollars worth of instruments on tour with him. Knows darn well he overplays at times but his chops from a technical level are as good as anyone. A MUCH better singer than most give him credit for or even notice as the focus is always on his playing.
    Tommyboy, BDC, Panama Hotel and 4 others like this.
  3. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Maryland, U.S.A.
    He is good. But I would rather listen to Rory Gallagher or Jeff Beck.
  4. brownsound2112

    brownsound2112 Forum Resident

    Charges too much for tickets. Saw him 9 years ago, front row centre seat for for face of £25.00

    Same venue, the last time he played was £104.00, I think. Ridiculous.
  5. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    Spreads himself a bit thinly maybe?

    Certainly a talent though!
  6. George Blair

    George Blair Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    I'm sure he's fun at parties.
    royzak2000 and Tommyboy like this.
  7. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    The Southwest
    That is the concert industry. Inflated, premium pricing. Becoming more prohibitive by the year.
    arthurprecarious likes this.
  8. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    It's the fault of the people.

    If enough of us stop paying the prices then they'll come down. (Said Pollyanna. :))
  9. thxphotog

    thxphotog Camera Nerd

    Los Angeles, CA
    He plays to sold out theaters and if you saw the caravan he tours with you'd understand that the money all goes back to the live show. It's a huge operation and his incredible backing band doesn't come cheaply.
  10. Thermionic Dude

    Thermionic Dude Forum Resident

    I don't love or hate him, he just never really captured my interest to the same degree as a lot of other players; for me, the main issue boils-down to the lack of grit in his music.

    He has all the technical ingredients of a legendary musician and is a dazzlingly accomplished guitar player and outstanding tuneful vocalist, but it's all much too slick for the Blues. I want to hear Blues players occasionally hit the "wrong" note during a guitar solo or hear their voice crack during a particularly intense section of the song; I think the best Blues music does need to sound dirty and a little bit out of control at times and should wear the emotion on its sleeve, so to speak. It needs to be low-fi and played from the hip rather than the head!

    That speaks to exactly what I am talking about! I don't want my Blues players to be "gear nerds" and certainly don't want to see millions of dollars worth of instruments/gear because all that stuff sanitizes the sound too much. I don't want to hear a digitally-modelled virtual version of a gritty blues tone, I want the real grit that results from the combination of an imperfect player and imperfect gear!

    Blues was never intended to be "technical" music, and when it is played that way it just feels somewhat empty to me. I need those mind-blowing moments where the playing is so expressive and there is just enough mojo coming through to send chills down my spine and make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and you don't need any million-dollar stuff to accomplish that. John Lee Hooker and Freddie King (for example) could say more with just one note than the whiz-kid shredders like Bonamassa can in multiple bars of 64th notes!
  11. thxphotog

    thxphotog Camera Nerd

    Los Angeles, CA
    I think you're misinterpreting what the million dollar gear is. And what you're preferring is exactly what joe plays. He's anti-digital. His gear is all vintage. All he plays are 50s Les Pauls, Telecasters and Strats through 50s Fender tweed amps.
  12. MARTHY

    MARTHY Forum Resident

    He's quite impressive; I believe he performed with B.B. King when he was around 11 years old. Videos are available on YouTube. The con: he pimps himself far too much in his e-newsletters: selling mini guitars, pins, coins, you name it and he's sold it. But I thoroughly enjoy his music -- have quite a few LPs and live CDs.
    carlwm likes this.
  13. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    The Southwest
    He is an impressive talent, extremely skilled, with the technical proficiency of the neo-classical shredders, but more in line with Danny Gatton in terms of style. I have a number of his albums, but I have never been able to fully embrace him as an artist. While I admire his ability (and really like his classic rock diversion with Black Country Communion), I simply prefer listening to other players, especially blues players. Still, he is one of the best guitarists of his generation.
  14. Former Lee Warmer

    Former Lee Warmer Emotional Rescue

    He's good, great choice in covers. Used to be in Bloodline, the band of all the famous dudes' kids. Doesn't take himself as seriously as other blues-rock guys his age I've toured with (one with 3 names, in particular.) Not a fan of Kevin Shirley's production, but I dig Beth Hart's vocals when she was involved. BCC could've been a monster band, but between everyone's other gigs + the bass player's ego they couldn't ever really get it right...

    A mixed bag. Fun player. Expensive tickets.

    Eventually, I'd rather listen to the records he covers and jam with the players he's inspired, if that makes sense. He's TOO good, doesn't make the "cool mistakes" you hear from a Jack White/Keith+Woody/Neil Young/Leslie West/Jimmy Page/et al
    thxphotog and carlwm like this.
  15. Murph

    Murph Somewhere...under heaven

    See Stevie Ray Vaughan.
    Blank Frank, mando_dan, boe and 2 others like this.
  16. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Minneapolis, MN
    Great player, I saw him live once and enjoyed the show. I'd see him again if his ticket prices weren't absolutely ridiculous. On the other hand, I've listened to virtually every studio record he's made and couldn't hum a single Bonamassa composition off of any of them to you. I feel like he writes songs because he needs new product and new stuff to play live, not really because he has any great aspirations as a songwriter.

    If he ever learned to write truly memorable songs, he'd be dangerous. But having said that, the most enjoyable records in his catalog are the live covers sets and the Beth Hart collaborations.
  17. HfxBob

    HfxBob Forum Resident

    I have 3 of his albums plus BCC Live in Europe. I like him a lot. But I do get where some of the criticisms come from. His solos are virtuosic, but perhaps a bit repetitive, machine-like.
  18. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    A couple of things that I've heard from friends in the Blues business:

    He comes from a family of concert promoters, so to a great extent he was born on third base, so a home run wasn't very difficult.

    Along with that, he "four walls" concert venues, meaning he rents the entire venue out, and handles ticket sales directly, like the Grateful Dead did.

    Neither are bad, but they give him significant advantages over other players.
    Siegmund likes this.
  19. Retro Hound

    Retro Hound Forum Resident

    Pittsburg, KS
    I like him. I have a concert DVD and he just plays, no goofing around, yakking at the audience, etc. And his band is top notch.
  20. blehman

    blehman Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI. USA
    I think you make a great point. I don't find his original work all that compelling, but he is an exceptional interpreter of others works. His British Blues Explosion Live is a good example. The attached clip of his version of Mainline Florida is a personal favorite. It could be argued that it doesn't vary much from Eric Clapton's version, but there is just something more satisfying about Bonamassa's version. There is also the issue of Reece Wynan playing the snot out of his B3!!!!

  21. Steve Baker

    Steve Baker Forum Resident

    Columbia, Maryland
    I prefer Kenny Wayne Shepperd.
  22. Hootsmon

    Hootsmon Forum Resident

    First heard the You & Me album about a dozen years ago and thought it was alright without being essential. Heard a few of his other albums, live and studio, over the years and can't say anything's really got me excited. I've always found his stuff to be music-by-numbers and lacking soul.
    I'll take my hat off to him though as he's clearly Iiving his dream and seems to be constantly on tour and releasing an album every year.
    Murph likes this.
  23. 911s55

    911s55 Forum Resident

    Wa state
    He is a very good technician with not much to say. Hard rock boogie blues that I can see coming a mile away. Also way to much emphasis on having the slick gear set up. Equipment is critical and essential for all of the presentation but he could loosen up a bit, let go of the reigns some and let creativity find it's way.

    He's good at what he does, I'm just not a fan of that stuff.
    mando_dan and dharmabumstead like this.
  24. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Minneapolis, MN
    Yeah, I really like most of the covers he's done, live and studio. I don't know if they're "better" than other versions, but he lives in the blues world where it's just fun to have different interpretations of those songs. His playing is always great, and he's a perfectly capable, if not terribly distinctive singer. I'm not usually into people relying on outside writers, but finding his own Jerry Williams wouldn't be the worst thing if he's going to keep pumping out studio LP's every year. Then again, he clearly has a core audience that eats it up, so good on him. I always give each one a couple listens, but they just don't stick beyond "well, I really like this guitar playing." I play the Beth Hart collabs pretty regularly though.
    blehman likes this.
  25. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Oregon Coast
    i saw him in a small bar around here when he was kid, really good show he was still playing a strat. I like his early blues style a bit more than the Eric Johnson sound he started going with. Although I watched a concert he did in England, Clapton joined him on a couple tunes, and it was a great show. Huge.
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