Joe Bonamassa: An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House

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Guitarist Joe Bonamassa was opening for B.B. King when he was only eight years old and was a veteran of the road and gigging by the time he was 12, so it's tempting to toss him in the all-flash-but-no-soul prodigy trash bin that has been filling up pretty well since Stevie Ray Vaughan shuffled off to blues heaven -- but that would be a big mistake. Bonamassa has soul, plenty of it, and he plays guitar with a reverent grace, and sometimes lost in all this is that he's a pretty good singer, too, sounding more than a little bit like a reconstituted Paul Rodgers. And he doesn't need an electric in his hand to prove the deal, as this live acoustic set, recorded for DVD and Blu-ray at the Vienna Opera House in Austria, brings home. Bonamassa covers his career, reconfiguring things for acoustic playing, and naturally he shines at it, with the sparser arrangements bringing out how effective his voice really is. Bonamassa isn't some kid prodigy anymore -- he's grown up into a soulful blues-rock performer, whether in an acoustic or electric setting. ~ Steve Leggett



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