Joe Bonamassa - Redemption

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Anyone else in Joe Bonamassa's shoes would need to be very aware of the real and present danger of burn-out; not for themselves, but for the listening public. Joe releases, on average, something every six months. Redemption, although his first solo studio album in two years, is his third release of 2018. That kind of relentless release schedule would, for most other artists, wear out their fanbase (both mentally, and financially) quite quickly, but most other artists aren't able to maintain the same level of quality, or variety, as Bonamassa. Where most of the blues world recycles, a lot, Joe tries as many new things as he can, and there is again a lot going on here. Opener Evil Mama starts out with drum rolls that recall Led Zeppelin's Rock 'n' Roll but the jazzy guitar groove and sudden introduction of brass gives it a different feel altogether. The album highlight is thetitle track, based around a swampy acoustic groove with a gospel-style backing vocal on the chorus and a chunky Kashmir style riff under his blazing solo later on, it crams a lot into its six minutes. There are a few less interesting things, like the somewhat more generic boogie of King Bee Shakedown (more brass though), Molly O' which is a pretty standard example of Joe's style, and the barroom swing of Pick Up The Pieces basically spends four minutes doing the same thing over and over, but all are executed in the same high-class manner as the rest of his material. Jamey Johnson adds some country tones to The Ghost of Macon Jones, and Joe doesn't forget his knack for beautiful acoustic pieces on ballad Stronger Now In Broken Places. There's some traditional blues to be had here and there as well, mainly on closer Love Is A Gamble, but Joe's primary focus here is clearly playing with new grooves, new backing vocals, and flourishes of different instrumentation, particularly horns. It's not quite his best all round work, but it's some of his more varied, and adds a lot of new flavours to his burgeoning catalogue.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2018, Albums, Blues, Quickplay Reviews,

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