Genre - Hard Rock / Blues
01. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
02. Oh Beautiful!
03. Love Ain't A Love Song
04. Living On The Moon
05. Heartache Follows Wherever I Go
06. Never Give All Your Heart
07. I Gave Up Everything For You, 'Cept The Blues
08. Different Shades Of Blue
09. Get Back My Tomorrow
10. Trouble Town
11. So, What Would I Do
As part of Black Country Communion or solo artist, there are few blues-rockers today who are as consistent as JOE BONAMASSA. And this comes clear on his new great record to be released next week under the proper title "Different Shades Of Blue", as ranges from heavy blues to funk / soul inspired blues.
To outdo himself and push his art forward with the bar already set pretty high, Bonamassa left his long-standing template of mixing in covers with originals and had a hand in writing every track for new album. But instead of writing the songs on his own, he partnered in Nashville with established composers like talented James House.
Oh, and Bonamassa wrote with Jonathan Cain, too. Yes, that Jonathan Cain of Journey.
Joe B.’s songwriting acumen didn’t really require extra polish, but the input from these proven pros certainly didn’t hurt, either. And any anxiety that he went 'country' or 'Journey' on us should quickly be put to rest; these song bear his fingerprints much more than his songwriting mates.
That improvement comes in a more aggressive push against the boundaries of contemporary blues, making an album that offers different, widely varied takes of the broader-based blues. That’s the freedom that often comes with writing all your own material.
The album starts off mighty strong, a killer string of four tunes that reminds us of the diversity Bonamassa finds in the broad context of the blues. The Hendrix re-worked instrumental intro “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” serves as a just-right passage into the killer crunch of “Oh Beautiful!”, quite heavy and very Black Country Communion in essence.
A sax from Ron Dziubla and a trumpet from Lee Thornburg give “Love Ain’t A Love Song” swift, soulful kick in the ass and the lyrics have the swagger to match the melody; it’s meant to be played loud. The horns reappear on “Living On The Moon,” a crisp blues shuffle, and Bonamassa gets a nasty thing going for his brief guitar solo.
But the best arrives in the middle of the CD.
The ultra melodic but a the same hard rocking bluesy “Never Give All Your Heart” will delight fans of classic Bad Company, and for those with a hunger for the dirty lowdown kind of blues, “Heartache Follows Wherever I Go” fills the bill and then some. It's like a song taken from Gary Moore's classic 'Still Got The Blues'.
These two songs alone worth this disc.
Kevin Shirley is on board as producer as he’s been for the prior fifteen Bonamassa albums and he declares "Different Shades of Blue" his 'favorite Joe Bonamassa record to date'. Agree with him.
This album rocks, in a bluesy style, but rocks with blood in the veins.
Like the title of the album and the deeply soulful song of the same name (another highlight), this new batch of songs points up the fact that the blues does come in so many different shades. And all of it is good.
Rating - 9/10