Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Recorded at Studio At The Palms in Las Vegas, NV, The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, CA and The Cave in Malibu, CA, Driving Towards The Daylight is a balanced back-to-basic album that highlights Bonamassa's signature style of roots blues with rock-and-roll guts, while honoring the traditions of the original blues musicians. "We've taken some really traditional old blues songs - the Howlin' Wolf song "Who's Been Talkin'?' and the Robert Johnson songs 'Ston In MY Passway,' and we've tried to imagine how they would do them in a rock context," said Shirley. "It's a very exciting return to the blues in a very visceral way. It's vibrant and it's gutsy and it's really, really rugged."
to challenge Joe and move him out of his comfort zone, a unique group of musicians was gathered including Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford (guitar), Blodle Chaplan (guitar), Anton Fig (drums and percussion), Arlan Schierbaum (keyboard), Michael Rhodes (bass), Carmine Rojas (bass), Jeff Bova and The Bovaland Brass, Pat Thrall (guitar), and Brad's son Harrison Whitford (guitar).
The album feature five Bonamassa-penned originals including the bruising opener "Dislocated Boy," the road warrior title track (and first single) "Driving Towards The Daylight," "I Got All You Need," "Heavenly Soul," and "Somewhere Trouble Don't Go." Other tracking include Bonamassa's versions of Tom Waits' "New Coat Of Paint," "Lonely Town Lonely Street," by Bill Withers (Lean On Me, Ain't No Sunshire) and "A Place In My Heart" by Bernie Marsden of White Snake (Here I Go Again). On the albuem closer, Australian rock singer Jummy Barnes sings lead vocals on his 1987 hit "Too Much Ain't Enough Love."
Currently available for sale on DVD and Blu-ray and airing on PBS and Palladia HD is the brand new Joe Bonamassa: Beacon Theatre - Live From New York, which showcases the stunning sold-out two-night performance at New York City's legendary Beacon Theatre last November. Special guests include Paul Rodgers, John Hiatt and Beth Hart.
Bonamassa's other recent projects include the 2011 CD/DVD Live Over Europe as well as the sophomore album 2 from Black Country communion. Bonamassa's hard rock band with Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), Jason Bonham (led Zeppelin, Foreigner) and Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Billy Idol). His last studio album, 2011's Dust Bowl, is his best-selling album to date.
Joe Bonamassa releases his 13th album this week on Provogue Records. The album, entitled "Driving Towards The Daylight" packs 11 tracks, including blues classic such as Howlin' Wolfs 'Who's Been Talkin' and Robert Johnson's 'Stones In My Passway' as well as a cover of Tom Waits' 'New Coat Of Paint'. Recorded in Los Angeles, CA and Las Vegas, NV, the album has been described as a back-to-basics album with a mix of blues, roots, and rock & roll.
Joe's new album, "Driving Towards The Daylight" is dominating the online music word of Apple's iTunes. iTunes is the world's most popular online digital music service, generating millions of downloads on a daily basis. Currently out of the 22 countries that have iTunes available, Joe's "Driving Towards The Daylight" is #1 on the iTunes Blues Chart in 15 countries. Joe has a total of 16 albums listed as #1, with the 16th number one album being "Don't Explain" with Beth Hart, which is #1 in France. Congrats to Joe and band for another phenomenal album.
While the plan may have been getting back to basics, there is certainly no expense spared on the production of this album it is the best sounding Bonamassa album to date in my opinion, it sounds a lot bolder and with more punch than say Black Rock. In terms of songs though there is a lot more grinding blues tracks that had me wanting to pick up my guitar and jam along, "Lonely Town Lonely Street" (arrangement of a Bill Withers song) is such a track for instance it's just so much fun to play. I've liked all of Joe's releases but this one immediately had me hitting the repeat button and listening to it again and again, as always the guitar playing is amazing and the rhythm guitar tones, which differ from track to track, are some of the best tones I've heard on Joe's records. There's enough variation on this album to keep the listeners interest on Driving Towards The Daylight and Joe covers a number of different blues styles as always, if you've never bought a Joe Bonamassa album before start with this one!
His experimentation side reflects particularly in "Lonely Town Lonely Street" featuring a funky riff and a background guitar that wouldn't sound out of place on a Prince album, a nice addition to the album which he should explore more in his next album. The album once again features producer Kevin Shirley and executive producer Roy Weisman who both done an excellent job once again. So all in all, Joe is still sounding great.
Blues rock is no Twitter-style genre - decades after U.K. guitarists reimagined American plaints as expansive showpieces, it's still best when practitioners stretch out. A couple of tracks on Bonamassa's 13th LP nod to Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson. But he excels on longer pieces like the title song, where his exacting singing blends with fiery symphonic playing.
Old-fashioned musicianly blues-rock, as practised by lank-haired individuals around the turn of the 1970s, with some of the virtuosity of Led Zeppelin but a fraction of the imagination.
Bonamassa is an accomplished guitarist; he fills the Gary Moore-shaped hole in the world admirably. And he's assembled an accomplished supporting cast of musicians. They cover Tom Waits, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Bill Withers and Robert Johnson. Loudly, since you ask.
Joe Bonamassa pours rich, soulful, rockin' blues from his soul to his fingertips every time he picks up a guitar. This time around he has released an album that mixes originals with covers and includes some high profile guests including Aerosmith's Brad Whitford and Jimmy Barnes, who closes the album with a remake of his biggest hit "Too Much Ain't Enough Love."
The Guitar Buzz
As expected, this CD highlights Bonamassa's signature style of blues, roots, and rock & roll. There is plenty of old and plenty of new. The old feels new and the new feels newer. It includes four "Bon-originals" and seven cover songs.
Shirley wanted to pull more out of Bonamassa and did so by bringing in a stellar group of session players the likes of Aerosmith's Brad Whitford and son Harrison Whitford on guitar, Anton Fig on drums, Arlan Schierbaum on keyboards, Michael Rhodes on bass and Jeff Bova and The Bovaland Brass on horns.
Rolling Stone (p.80) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "A couple of tracks on Bonamassa's 13th LP nod to Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson."
Uncut (magazine) (p.69) - "Modern studio sophistication is used to muscle up rather than to gloss....Best blues album of the year so far."
Personnel: Joe Bonamassa (vocals, guitar); Rick Melick (keyboards); Tal Bergman (drums, percussion); Roy Weisman, Evert Wubben, Ed Van Zijl, Rachael Iverson.
Audio Mixer: Kevin Shirley.
Liner Note Author: Joe Bonamassa.
Recording information: Studio At The Palms, Las Vegas, NV; The Cave, Malibu, CA; The Village Recorder, Los Angeles, CA.
Illustrator: Dennis Friel.
Photographers: Rick Gould; Marcus Sweeney-Bird.
He'll never be the new Stevie Ray Vaughan, but at the rate blues-rock (emphasis on the latter) guitarist Joe Bonamassa is going, he can take a stab at being the next Gary Moore. Like the Irish guitarist, Bonamassa is influenced by the British blues-rockers more than the Americans they lifted their licks from. He's also just as prolific; this is his thirteenth album in twelve years and that's not including side projects with Black Country Communion and Beth Hart, and DVDs grabbed from his 200-night-a-year road schedule filled with sweaty, high-energy performances. Makes you tired just reading about it. Bonamassa isn't much of a songwriter so he wisely contributes only four tunes to this disc's eleven, with some relatively obscure deep blues covers from Howlin' Wolf ("Who's Been Talkin'"), Willie Dixon ("I Got All You Need"), and Robert Johnson ("Stones in My Passway") gravitating toward his roots side. Also included are offbeat choices from Bill Withers ("Lonely Town/Lonely Street") and Tom Waits ("New Coat of Paint"). For better or worse, they all end up sounding like Joe Bonamassa tracks, since he feeds them into his leathery rock sensibilities, churning out requisite hot guitar solos whether they serve the song or not. He's left his road-hardened band on the sidelines and calls in top-notch session guys, including Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, David Letterman drummer Anton Fig, and keyboardist Arlen Schierbaum, whose piano and organ add some much-needed R&B attitude to the hard rock attack. Bonamassa even relinquishes lead vocals to Australian Jimmy Barnes, who goes so over the top singing his own "Too Much Ain't Enough Love" it seems like he is auditioning for AC/DC. Longtime producer Kevin Shirley gets a slick, professional sound from these guys, and when everyone is cooking and the material is solid, such as on the grinding Bonamassa original "Dislocated Boy" and the Wolf cover (including a spoken word sample of the blues legend that kicks off the tune), the arrangements and guitars mesh together like whisky and soda. What Bonamassa lacks in a distinctive sound and singing, he makes up for with sheer determination, which is almost enough to push the album from pretty good to pretty great, especially on the horn-enhanced slow blues of "A Place in My Heart" that explodes out of the speakers in a way Gary Moore could summon at will. In other words, this is a keeper if you've already bought into the guitarist's more-is-more approach that has served him well thus far, and he shows no signs of abandoning it now. ~ Hal Horowitz