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Joe Bonamassa - Royal Tea album review

Joe Bonamassa
(Image credit: Supplied)

JOE BONAMASSA
Royal Tea
J&R ADVENTURES

For solo album #14, Joe Bonamassa looks far beyond the boundaries of the blues and taps into a much statelier, more overtly theatrical well of inspiration. 

Strings bubble and brew alongside the rich and reverberant howl of his electric leads; big, roaring solos and viciously fat jam sections (where we come about as close as we will to hearing Bonamassa’s take on heavy metal) are met with drum passages and backing lines nothing short of epic. 

It’s impressive, too, the way he leaps from style to style – in the opening cut alone, we get everything from orchestral grandeur to blistering rock ‘n’ roll, twangy southern soul and folk balladry. 

This is, without a doubt, the best we’ve heard from the New York virtuoso in at least a decade – we anxiously await its inevitable live reproduction.

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Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Their bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (on which they also serve as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Their go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, they only picked up after they’d joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped them see the light…