May 8, 1977 |
New Hartford, New York, United States
|Genres||Blues rock, rock and roll|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, theremin, mandolin, dobro, banjo|
|Labels||J&R Adventures, Provogue|
|Associated acts||Bloodline, Black Country Communion, Beth Hart, Rock Candy Funk Party, Jason Bonham, Joe Lynn Turner|
|Gibson Les Paul
Music Man Custom Steve Morse single and double necks
Gibson Flying V
Bonamassa opened for B.B. King when he was only 12 years old. In the last 13 years Bonamassa has put out 15 solo albums through his independent record label, J&R Adventures. Eleven of his solo albums have reached #1 on the Billboard Blues charts.
He has played alongside such artists as Stephen Stills, Eric Clapton, Foreigner, Buddy Guy, Steve Winwood, Warren Haynes, and Derek Trucks among others. His career highlights include performances at the Royal Albert Hall and a Grammy Award nomination in 2013. In addition to his music career, Joe Bonamassa runs a nonprofit organization called the "Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation" whose mission it is to further music education by funding scholarships and providing music education resources to schools in need.
Life and career
Joe Bonamassa was born in New Hartford, New York. He started playing guitar at age four. His father was an avid music fan and exposed Bonamassa to records by Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Joe was very inspired by these British blues rock records. When he was 12 years old, he had his own band called Smokin' Joe Bonamassa. The band gigged around western New York and Pennsylvania, cities such as Scranton and Buffalo, on weekends since Joe had school on weekdays. The guitar Bonamassa played, which he called "Rosie", was a crimson 1972 Fender Stratocaster that Bonamassa's father bought him from a store in Utica, New York, called Big Apple Music.
Bonamassa was asked to open for B.B. King at approximately twenty shows, which he did. Before he reached 18 years old, Bonamassa was playing in a band called Bloodline with the sons of Miles Davis, Robby Krieger, and Berry Oakley. Although Bloodline did not become a famous act, it attracted some attention to Bonamassa's guitar chops.
His debut studio album, A New Day Yesterday was released in 2000 and features both original tunes and covers of such artists as Rory Gallagher, Jethro Tull, and Warren Haynes. The album features a guest appearance by Gregg Allman on the tune "If Heartaches Were Nickels" and was produced by Tom Dowd. The album reached #9 on the Billboard Blues chart.
Between 2002 and 2007, Bonamassa saw 3 studio albums hit #1 on the Billboard Blues Charts, and all five of his solo studio albums made the top 10.
In 2009, Bonamassa fulfilled one of his childhood dreams by playing at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Eric Clapton performed during the show along with Bonamassa.
Bonamassa's live album Beacon Theatre–Live from New York was released in 2012. The show featured one of Bonamassa's musical heroes, Paul Rodgers, formerly of the bands Free and Bad Company, as a guest.
March 26, 2013 saw the release of his live, acoustic album An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House, which was released as a CD/DVD/Blu-ray set.This concert marked the first time Bonamassa played a wholly acoustic show. The acoustic ensemble that performed the show was assembled with the help of Bonamassa's longtime producer, Kevin Shirley.
Over the summer of 2013, Bonamassa performed four shows in London featuring three different bands and, at one show, a horn section, covering four different sides of his music. Each show had a unique setlist. The shows were recorded for a DVD release and the set of DVDs was released in October, 2013 under the name "Tour de Force."
Bonamassa's album Different Shades of Blue is his first solo studio album to showcase only original songs, except for one short instrumental Jimi Hendrix cover. The Hendrix cover is a 79-second partial performance of "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)." To write the album, Bonamassa went to Nashville and collaborated with three songwriters there: Jonathan Cain, who has written for Journey; James House, known for his work with Diamond Rio, Dwight Yoakam, and Martina McBride; and Jerry Flowers, who has written for Keith Urban. Bonamassa explained to the writers that he wasn't interested in creating three minute radio hits, but just wanted to write some serious blues rock. The recording of the album was accomplished in Las Vegas at a music studio in the Palms Hotel. On the charts, the album reached #8 on the Billboard 200, #1 on the Blues Chart, and #1 on the Indie Chart as well.
November 8, 2014 marked exactly 25 years that Bonamassa has been playing as a professional musician.
Collaboration with Beth Hart
Bonamassa was first exposed to Beth Hart's music after seeing her play several television performances. The two would often cross paths when playing shows separately in Europe, and Bonamassa became very impressed with Hart when he caught her show at the Blue Balls festival in Lucerne, Switzerland. While recording his album Dust Bowl and listening to the expanded edition of the Rolling Stones' Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! that features tracks by Ike and Tina Turner, Bonamassa became inspired to try pairing up with a female, and Beth Hart came to mind. The two musicians met up in a hotel bar in Dublin and soon Bonamassa floated the idea, which Hart accepted immediately, although she was at first under the impression that he was asking her to sing backup vocals on his next album. When she realized that his intention was for her to sing lead vocals, she said "I was floored".
Bonamassa, Hart, and producer Kevin Shirley wrote down lists of soul songs they liked to come up with material for the album, which was named Don't Explain. The group settled on twelve songs, although only ten ended up being recorded. Bonamassa and Hart chose five songs for the album each. Some of Hart's favorite tracks on the album, included "For My Friend" by Bill Withers and "Sinner's Prayer" by Ray Charles. Bonamassa had always wanted to do versions of Brook Benton's "I'll Take Care of You" and "Well Well" written by Delaney Bramlett & Bonnie Bramlett.
Their follow-up album, Seesaw was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Blues Album.
Other side projects
He is also a member of the jazz-funk band Rock Candy Funk Party. They released their debut album, We Want Groove in 2013 and followed it up with Rock Candy Funk Party Takes New York - Live at the Iridium. The show was recorded over a three night stand at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. The band played Conan on February 10, 2014.
Unlike many blues rock guitarists that came before him, Bonamassa's influences are British and Irish blues acts rather than American artists. In an interview in Guitarist magazine he cited three albums that had the biggest influence on his playing: John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton (the Beano album), Rory Gallagher's Irish Tour and Goodbye by Cream. He also noted that Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas Flood had a big influence when Bonamassa was young. Among other bands, he listed the early blues playing of Jethro Tull as an influence, and named both Martin Barre and Mick Abrahams as important musicians to him.
He elaborated on his influences in a 2007 interview:
"You know, my heroes were the Columbia guys – Paul Kossoff, Peter Green, Eric Clapton. There’s so many – there’s Gary Moore, Rory Gallagher – another Irish musician who played the same things, but don't tell him that. But those guys were my guys – Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page. There's a certain sophistication to their approach to the blues that I really like, more so than the American blues that I was listening to. B.B. King's a big influence – he's probably my biggest traditional influence. I love Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and T-Bone Walker and stuff like that, but I couldn't sit down. I was always forcing myself to listen to whole records by them, where I'd rather listen to Humble Pie do "I'm Ready" than Muddy Waters, you know? I think, the English interpretation of the blues just hit me a lot better, you know?"
In an October 2008 interview with Express & Star he said:
"When I heard Kossoff playing "Mr. Big" and when I heard Clapton playing "Crossroads" and when I heard Rory Gallagher playing "Cradle Rock", I was like, 'This is way cooler'.... "British blues are my thing. When I heard Rod Stewart and the Jeff Beck Group singing "Let Me Love You", it changed my life. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Those are my influences".
And in an December 2012 interview with MusicRadar:
- A New Day Yesterday (2000)
- So, It's Like That (2002)
- Blues Deluxe (2003)
- Had to Cry Today (2004)
- You & Me (2006)
- Sloe Gin (2007)
- The Ballad of John Henry (2009)
- Black Rock (2010)
- Dust Bowl (2011)
- Driving Towards the Daylight (2012)
- Different Shades of Blue (2014)
- Guitar - Ernie Jackson - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- "Joe Bonamassa to Make Radio City Debut This Winter". BroadwayWorld.com. 2014-10-01. Retrieved 2014-12-05.
- "Blues Albums". Joe Bonamassa Album & Song Chart History. Billboard. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- Ross, Brian. "Joe Bonamassa: The Best Living Guitarist You've Never Heard Of...". HuffingtonPost.com. 2012-11-10. Retrieved 2014-12-05.
- Dan Armanaitis. "Spotlights: A holiday buffet of music on tap in area for this week". GoUpstate.com. 2014-12-04. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
- Brown, Mick.Brown, Mick (2014-09-26). "Joe Bonamassa remembers opening for BB King in 1989". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
- Berick, Mike."Joe Bonamassa: The Quiet Prince". Relix. 2012-10-05. Retrieved 2014-12-05.
- Eduardo Rivadavia. "Review". Joe Bonamassa - A New Day Yesterday. Allmusic. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
- "Credits". Joe Bonamassa - A New Day Yesterday. Allmusic. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
- "Joe Bonamassa: Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
- "Joe Bonamassa: Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2014-12-08.
- "Joe Bonamassa Live From The Royal Albert Hall". kpbs.org. 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
- "Joe Bonamassa to Release Live CD/DVD, 'An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House,' March 26". GuitarWorld.com. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
- Sculley, Allen. "‘Different Shades’ of blues rocker Joe Bonamassa". Kansas.com. 2014-11-06. Retrieved 2014-12-05.
- Billboard Staff. "Grammy Awards 2014: Full Nominations List". Billboard.com. 2013-12-06. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
- Mitchell, Ed. "Heavy Lies the Crown." The Blues Magazine, October, 2014.
- Jeffries, Neil. "Joe Bonamassa: Different Shades of Blue." Classic Rock Magazine, October, 2014
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- "2015 Blues Music Awards Winners". Americanbluesscene.com. Retrieved 2015-05-18.
- Bosso, Joe. "Interview: Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart on their new album, Don't Explain". MusicRadar.com. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2014-12-05.
- Sculley, Allen. "'Different Shades' of blues rocker Joe Bonamassa". Kansas.com. 2014-11-06. Retrieved 2014-12-05.
- "Rock Candy Funk Party To Make Late Night Debut on CONAN, 2/10". BroadwayWorld.com. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
- Guitar Magazine, Issue 265
- "Joe Bonamassa Interview". Blues In Britain. 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
- "Joe Bonamassa Interview: Guitar Interviews". Guitarinternational.com. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
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- Joe Bosso, "Joe Bonamassa: my top 5 not-so-guilty pleasures of all time", Music Radar, December 7, 2012
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