JOE BONAMASSA – YOU AND ME

Joe_Bonamassa_-_You_&_Me

Out now on Mascot/Provogue
Original review published in 2006

Joe Bonamassa, a household name in the blues community, was recently elected as the youngest member of the board of directors of The Blues Foundation, the USA’s largest and most respected blues music organisation – quite an honour, yet give the quality and quick turnaround of his last five albums you can see why. “You and Me” is Bonamassa’s sixth studio CD and contains 11 brand new tracks and is home to a monster backing band in Jason Bonham on drums (yes John’s son) and Carmine Rojas on Bass Guitar and Rick Melick on Organ and Tambourine.

Bonamassa is clearly in music for one reason – the music. This shines through his relentless non stop touring (always on the road) or recording new material when not on tour. Bonamassa is taking blues back to the people and at his tender age don’t be surprised if this guy really hits in the next couple of years – much as Stevie Ray Vaughan did.

What Joe has going for him, more so than many other US blues players is a strong British vibe in his work, you can hear the influences the like of Clapton, Page and Beck have had on him and the majority of his material reflects the heavier guitar side of blues – albeit with more tradition and soul than Gary Moore has shown on his last few “through the motions” blues releases.

Stylistically this is a great mix of tunes from the traditional opener “High Water Everywhere” to the blistering blues rock of “Bridge To Better Days”, the slow blues of “Asking Around For You” and the musically rich instrumental “Django” . The album even features a faithful cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Tea For One” (one of their often overlooked gems), really the guitar playing is faultless, the song writing top notch and performances superb. My only real gripe is Kevin Shirley’s production which to these ears has added an overly dark edge to Bonmassa’s raw tone (I prefer the production on the previous ‘Had To Cry Today’) but this is a minor niggle.

Overall “You and Me” is another quality release from this blues hound which is as good as the previous release ‘Had To Cry Today’.

Rating – 90%

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