Album Reviews

Joe Bonamassa – Driving Towards The Daylight Review

Released By: Provogue Records

Genre : Blues Rock

Link : http://jbonamassa.com

 

Tracklist:

01. Dislocated Boy

02. Stones In My Passway

03. Driving Towards The Daylight

04. Who’s Been Talkin’?

05. I Got All You Need

06. A Place In My Heart

07. Lonely Town, Lonely Street

08. Heavenly Soul

09. New Coat Of Paint

10. Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go

11. Too Much Ain’t Enough Love

 

Looking back, it doesn’t seem all that long ago that Joe Bonamassa was and up and coming blues guitarist releasing his debut album A NEW DAY YESTERDAY. In the twelve years since the release of that album, Bonamassa has worked his way into the music scene in such a way that he is now considered to be one of, if not THE, best blues rock artists of the modern era. He has released a stack of album in that time, been featured on albums from artists like Joe Lynn Turner, Walter Trout, Don Airey and Europe, and of course he was also selected to be a part of the current era’s most exciting classic rock supergroup BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, a band that also includes Jason Bonham, Derek Sherinian and Glenn Hughes.

For somebody that is so busy, it seems crazy that Joe is releasing yet another new solo album just over twelve months after his last effort DUST BOWL. This is even more impressive considering he has spent the majority of this year touring his solo act and also working the upcoming third album from BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION. Knowing this ridiculously busy schedule, it’s totally understandable that this new release only features three original compositions amidst eight cover tracks. Keep in mind though, blues based artists have been doing this sort of thing since back in the fifties, and blues music itself it so open to interpretation that covers can easily sound like totally new songs. Especially when somebody with a slightly more modern mindset like Bonamassa gets his hands on them.

Let’s have a look at the three originals first. The opening track DISLOCATED BOY has a real swampy blues feel to it, with a slight touch of Tex/Mex thrown in for good measure. It’s a great slower groove number that opens the album in spectacular fashion. HEAVENLY SOUL is the weaker of the three originals on offer, but it’s still a high quality track that features some great Hammond Organ work and as you would expect some awesome guitar work. This track would have been a natural fit for Joe’s previous album DUST BOWL, so if you enjoyed the vibe of that one, you will like this. The best of the three originals is also the title track DRIVING TOWARDS THE DAYLIGHT. A co-write with highly respected session muso Danny Kortchmar, this track has quickly become one of my personal favorite Joe Bonamassa tracks and really does feel like the prefect representation of where blues rock music should be in the modern era. If BAD COMPANY were still releasing new music these days, they would love to have a track like DRIVING TOWARDS THE DAYLIGHT in their repertoire.

Now as far as the eight covers are concerned, each has a distinctively Joe Bonamassa touch to it, and while it would have been easy to grab a handful of blues standards and add some new solos and call it a day, it feels as though each song has had as much time and effort put into it as any of the originals on the record, and the song choices are varied and interesting too. There’s a great energetic version of Robert Johnson standard STONES IN MY PASSWAY, which easily surpasses previous versions done by ERIC CLAPTON, RORY BLOCK and JOHN MELLENCAMP. The HOWLIN’ WOLF classic WHO’S BEEN TALKIN’ gets a modern-ish makeover and grooves along until the climatic solo work at the end. I GOT ALL YOU NEED, originally recorded by KOKO TAYLOR is once again given a modern electric blues makeover and features more of that amazing Bonamassa fretwork. LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET, originally a more soul music based track by BILL WITHERS gets the electric treatment here too, and while the original itself is regarded as a bit of a soul music classic, this modern blues rock interpretation leaves the original in the dust. SOMEWHERE TROUBLE DON’T GO was originally a country rock tune penned by country music mainstay BUDDY MILLER, but has also recently been covered and released by MIRANDA LAMBERT and is also a regular feature in the live shows of Robert Plant’s BAD OF JOY. Once again though Bonamassa manages to make the track his own and gives it a shot of pure rock adrenaline. Here’s where things get even more interesting… A PLACE IN MY HEART, which was originally a Bernie Marsden track, is covered here and while the general feel of the original is in place, there is an eerie, eerie Gary Moore influence here both stylistically and guitar sound wise. That easily made this one of my favorite tracks on the album and one that still mourning Moore fans will get all kinds of excited about. One of the more interesting and inspired choices on offer as a unique version of TOM WAITS track NEW COAT OF PAINT. This was one of the best tracks to come out of the early Jazz inspired Waits era and Bonamassa shows that he is able to do just about anything by giving this one a great blues rock feel while still retaining enough of the general vibe of the original that you can unmistakeably spot it. The closing track is another personal favorite of mine and yet another interesting choice… TOO MUCH LOVE AIN’T ENOUGH was originally recorded by Jimmy Barnes during his more AOR stage, and was actually co-written with some of the most powerful people of that genre including Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon from JOURNEY. In a twist to that tale though, Bonamassa invited Jimmy Barnes himself to do the lead vocals, and boy does he sound as good as ever. Now the original version of this track featured another one of my all-time favorite guitarist Johnny Diesel (Barnes’ brother-in-law), so I still have a soft spot for it, but with a modern day production and some smooth guitar work from the mighty Bonamassa this just may be the most essential version of the song.

DRIVING TOWARDS THE DAYLIGHT is another stunning album by Bonamassa, and as time goes by more and more people are willing to acknowledge that he is the modern day hero of blues guitar. This album is yet another reason to agree with that statement and if you are a fan of any type of electric blues music, blues rock, amazing guitar playing or just rock music in general then there is no reason that you shouldn’t rush out and grab a copy of this record right now!

 

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 9/10

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