JOE BONAMASSA — Redemption Album Review

The two-times GRAMMY nominated blues-rock colossus JOE BONAMASSA returns with a new studio album entitled “Redemption” — to be launched on September 21, 2018 via Provogue / Mascot Label Group in Europe and J & R Adventures in North America.

It’s a rising, it’s contrition, it’s acceptance… Picture credit: © Christie Goodwin

The album reunites to Bonamassa with some of the best musicians in Nashville, such as Tom Hambridge, James House, Gary Nicholson and Richard Page, Dion Dimucci.

And on “Redemption” he continues his long record with South African music producer Kevin Shirley as he presents a collection of twelve stimulating songs that reflect the rebirth he is currently experiencing : “I’m going through some other stuff in my life I didn’t expect to be going through. It’s a rising, it’s contrition, it’s acceptance, it’s everything. It’s painful, but knowing that there’s a rising coming...”

Redemption from exile (self-imposed or otherwise) and personal redemption are recurrent themes in the blues… after all, it’s music that’s born of spiritual suffering and final salvation. Following the blues means taking a musical journey from the Delta to the land of glory. From sin to the soul. It is a journey that has been undertaken by Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Son House through B.B. King, John P. Hammond and John Mooney and leads us to Buddy Guy, Steve Winwood and now onto Bonamassa.

Redemption brings us the pain of the blues and also the gift of true hope…

His 2018 album opens with a respectful salute to Led Zeppelin, who were born from the bones of the Yardbirds, themselves drawing on influences from the Chicago blues: “Evil Mama” starts with a burst of drums and incorporates some stupendously fruity horns. The voice is brawny and the backing vox are hearty. Of course, this song is intricately criss-crossed by adroit guitar. And at the half-way point the guitar utters a yawn before addressing the chains of culpability, wrongdoing and false accusation.

King Bee Shakedown” is a swaggering and extravagant rock ‘n’ roll show with a spicy big band sound [think of Woody Herman] and a joyful chorus.

Next, beams of the sea hurl themselves against the tide on the thumper “Molly-O” as Bonamassa dips into his Black Country Communion influences to tell a calamitous tale. This has an inebriated meander with percussion that flaps in the wind like a ship’s flag before the ice-cold guitar pierces our skin to make the eyes water.

Joe thinks “Self-Inflicted Wounds” is one of the best songs he’s ever written. It staggers like a love-drunk punchbag. It is slow-footed and cautious, richly interwoven, and it reminds us of the blues-based by Pink Floyd — numbers such as “Breathe” and the slow-build of “Eclipse”. The guitar is amazing and, it’s true what Joe thinks — this is the high tide of sophisticated blues-rock.

If you can imagine a smoky honkytonk full of buskering boogie-woogie, you’ll love this… Photo Credit © Christie Goodwin

Deep In The Blues Again” presents a compulsive beat that makes your heart beat faster and is more in line with the electric backwoods-blues sounds of someone like Ry Cooder. This has a big warm heart and will, no doubt, be extremely commerically succesful.

Later on Bonamassa cuts a groove with the liquor-soaked number “Pick Up The Pieces” that’s as louche as a merry rake who visits a barrel-house to watch a slow drag dance with Magic Slim. If you can imagine a smoky honkytonk full of buskering boogie-woogie, you’ll love this. Although blues-rock aficionados might find the number a little guitar-lite.

The title song is a slick and slippery swamp-blues hit with a hard-man voice and the most incredible and angelic background voices. It brings us the pain of the blues and also the gift of true hope.

This is an all-encompassing and somewhat interdisciplinary album that seeks solutions in various musical forms — yet always brings the listener back to the main themes: how to face life’s challenges and how to find resolution through grit and determination and, perhaps, to understand that true salvation can only be found outside oneself.

Admirable. This has the healing power of redemptive harmony. 5 STARS

Words: @neilmach 2018 ©


European and UK September/October 2018 Tour Dates
Book tickets from

September 2018

22nd – Helsingin Jäähalli Helsinki Finland
24th – Hovet Stockholm Sweden
26th – Lisebergshallen Goteborg Sweden
28th – Oslo Spektrum Oslo Norway
29th – Operaen København Denmark

October 2018

1st – Stadthalle Rostock Rostock Germany
2nd – König-Pilsener-Arena Oberhausen Germany
3rd – SAP Arena Mannheim Germany
5th – Esperantohalle Fulda Germany
6th – Rittal Arena Wetzlar Wetzlar Germany
8th – Ratiopharm Arena Neu-Ulm Germany
11th – Plymouth Pavilions Plymouth United Kingdom
12th – Motorpoint Arena Nottingham United Kingdom
13th – Bournemouth International Centre Bournemouth United Kingdom

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