Twenty years ago, JOE BONAMASSA stunned the world of blues-rock music when he released his debut album, “A New Day Yesterday” inspired, to a great extent, by the artistry of British guitarists Rory Gallagher, Paul Kossoff and Martin Barre.
Although he had already been on the scene for years as a child prodigy and even opened for BB King at the age of 12, the album declared the launch of a career that, two decades later, has seen Bonamassa rise to the top of his field and officially declared the number one blues guitarist in the world (Guitar World).
Now the legend will release a special twentieth anniversary edition of his seminal album titled: “A New Day Now” — re-mixed and re-mastered by his long time collaborative producer Kevin Shirley and re-sung by Bonamassa . It’s due for release on August 7th via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.
Bonamassa says: “The reason we went back and remixed it, and re-sang it, and pulled from the original masters was because I never felt like I deserved a guy like Tom Dowd to produce my first album. I was an infant as far as being an artist. Tom saw a little pebble in a stream, that could travel down and eventually become this nugget of gold, if you want to call it that, and he had a vision for me that I didn’t see. I appreciate that and I wanted to pay tribute to him as a man who mentored me through that time. I hope you guys enjoy it.”
“Tom Dowd was a master of everything he endeavored on. I wasn’t developed enough as a musician myself to rise to his level. I certainly gave it my all and rose to the occasion grading on the curve of the musician I am today, the musician Tom always knew was inside my soul. I decided to enlist the help of another producer and mentor that has significantly impacted my life both on a personal basis and professionally, Mr. Kevin Shirley to help re-mix, re-sing and finally pay tribute to Tom as I tried to so hard to when he was alive. Enjoy the trip down memory lane… I know I did.”
Thus, the 20th Anniversary Edition of Gallagher’s “Cradle Rock” is a riot of frothy excitement and dynamic ramboozle with dynamic club soda vocals and spirituous slide guitar flourishes.
Decanting Kossoff’s shrewd, expressive growl on “Walk In My Shadows” Joe’s guitar cuts through the air like the sharpest blade and exemplifies the kind of phrasing and vibrato found in the original 1969 Tons of Sobs version. And although the vocals don’t match Paul Rogers in terms of sheer macho horniness (how could they?) there’s enough pulpatoon and sour mash here to establish the anguish and relief that the song requires.
“A New Day Yesterday” is of course, a prowling beast of a number. With vibrant silver guitar streamers that seem to lurk over the doomized substructure, quite bony and bassful. This is masterfully accomplished and brings that majestic feeling of reckoning and destiny that came with the original.
And, the Albert King number “Don’t Burn Down That Bridge” (I’ll Play the Blues for You) sees Smokin’ Joe bring the best burnt sienna voice and the brightest brocade guitar waves he’s dispensed in years. This is baking hot and honorific.