INTERVIEW BY JOE COFFEY PHOTOS BY ROSS HALFIN & ECKHARD HENKEL
The critically-acclaimed, fan favorite
with the soulful licks and to-die-for
tone isn’t just a phenom anymore.
Joe Bonamassa hasn’t been for a
while now. Having toured since the
early ‘90s, he is what you would call
road-tested. Having released seven
albums, all of which reached #1 or
at least the top ten in Billboard’s
blues charts, he is what you call a
studio veteran. Most importantly, he
is what you would call a bluesman.
54 PREMIER GUITAR GREATEST HITS VOL. 1 82 PREMIER GUITAR OCTOBER 2009
There are phenomenal players out there
who cut the occasional blues album -- and
then there are bluesmen who cut albums.
To call Sloe Gin, Bonamassa’s latest, a blues
album is redundant.
In fact, Sloe Gin, goes where most blues
albums rarely go these days – the place
where it all began: acoustic blues. At the
same time, hats are tipped to rockers who
advanced the blues, and boundaries are
pushed. This is what’s most interesting
about Bonamassa and it’s very apparent on
this album. Despite his chops having won
him total respect by the blues community,
stores like Best Buy don’t put him in the
Blues section. There’s no denying the blues
cred is there but Bonamassa brings so
much more to the table.
We caught up with Bonamassa and talked
about his ground-breaking album, the state
of the blues and of course, his killer tone.
You go back and forth between acoustic
and electric on this album. If you were in
a different situation I’d ask you how you
convinced the powers that be to let you
That’s the beauty of owning your own label.
To me it’s important to move the boundaries a little, as far as what people consider
blues and break down some of those preconceived notions of what it really is. You
know, Led Zeppelin is just as much blues
as Robert Johnson. Of course, some blues
purists will take my picture and throw darts
at it [for saying that]. Eleven of the same
songs gets boring to anybody.