Blues Of Desperation
On "Different Shades Of Blue" he set his goal. In this album he achieves it
What are the common problems in the majority of the virtuoso blues guitarists' albums?
At first they usually choose the raw and honest approach in terms of production. This is the way they try to capture the feeling of the concert sound.
They also don't work too much on the writing, keeping things simple, like a white canvas that the guitarist will "paint" with many solos.
The third mistake is that there is usually no one to restrain things and the god - guitarist decides for everything. And not everyone is so talented that can do everything perfectly.
Joe Bonamassa has solved all this with the simplest of solutions. He lets Kevin Shirley - a much experienced super producer - handle everything but the basic songwriting and playing.
The course set is simple and clear. At first they worked on Joe's appearance and the "enhancement" of his sound in the studio, creating the dynamics that were only visible in his concerts.
The song covers were picked with more care and soon after the artist's establishment in the blues scene Shirley & Bonamassa opened up and looked to other music styles, like soul (with Beth Hart), country and some eastern traditional music.
In 2012 ("Driving Towards The Daylight") they added the radio-friendly ballad and they polished the sound even more, without losing the dynamic they already had achieved.
For the first time in 2014 ("Different Shades Of Blue") they abandoned the covers, choosing only original songs. They also turned into more traditional Nashville sounds.
After two years and various other projects, they continue in the same track, but this time the really excel.
First of all, compositions are beautifully crafted using the same and more experienced songwriters. In all the songs everything is chosen carefully. From the musician to the guitar used. Also, there is a better balance between blues, rock & country music and the sequence of songs is making the album flow perfectly.
Shirley hits bull's eye using the right tricks in each song. The keyboards, the soul voices, the distorted bass, they all come forward exactly when needed. Even the swearing at the end of "You Left Me Nothin' But The Bill And The Blues" is spot-on.
Joe Bonamassa sings his best and because of the work he has done over the years this is more than satisfying. He knows how to use his voice in order to support each song. He even follows successfully Paul Rodgers footsteps in the lovely "No Good Place For The Lonely".
It is not a surprise that he is shining again as a guitarist. His solos are magnificent, prudent but also passionate. He is substantial in "No Good Place For The Lonely", supersonic in "You Left Me Nothin' But The Bill And The Blues" and an real shredder in "How Deep This River Runs".
Near his forties, the American bluesman delivers his most complete work, not only in variety, but also in quality and quantity.
In no other of his albums you can find fine examples of all the styles of his songs.
Either if it is the Led Zeppelin - like Hard rock ("Blues Of Desperation") , the Americana, the radio-friendly ballad or his simplest rock n' roll or boogie composition.
This album works. And it works not only for the goal that Bonamassa and Shirley have set, but also for the listener's pleasure.
And that is the most important thing.