Eric Gales trades guitar solo blows with Joe Bonamassa in dueling new single, I Want My Crown

Eric Gales and Joe Bonamassa
(Image credit: Eric Gales/YouTube)

After it was teased last week that blues guitar phenom Eric Gales would be stepping into the ring with electric guitar ace Joe Bonamassa for the “World Heavyweight Guitar Battle”, we knew we were in for a treat. 

After all, what could be more satisfying than seeing two titans of the guitar world slugging it out over some six-string activity? The answer is a resounding “not much”.

Well, after patiently waiting for the guitar-fueled fight, the glorious event finally premiered today, and it turns out that the battle itself isn’t technically a battle at all. It is, in fact, Eric Gales' newest single, I Want My Crown.

What's more, it has also been announced that the track will be the lead single from Gales' new album, Crown, which is due to arrive January 28 via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group.

The effort delivers everything we could’ve hoped for, and then some. Three minutes of super-tight, funk-laden rhythmic work precedes the heavyweight bout, which sees Gales and JoBo go toe-to-toe with some wah-drenched jabs, slinky chromatic knockouts and heavy-hitting pentatonic punches.

We had speculated that today’s event would somehow relate to Gales’ highly anticipated forthcoming solo album, which the blues guitarist confirmed to Guitar World was on the way back in 2019.

As per Gales' chat with Guitar World, Crown will feature fellow blues guitar heroes Josh Smith and Bonamassa as producers, and is set to be his most personal effort to date.

Following 2019’s The Bookends, Crown will find Gales opening up “like never before” as he shares his “struggles with substance abuse, his hopes about a new era of sobriety and unbridled creativity, and his personal reflections on racism”.

It’s a story that is closely connected to I Want My Crown, and one that has its origins back in the 1990s when Gales and Bonamassa first both burst onto the scene. While JoBo rose to stratospheric heights, Gales was hampered by his own personal issues. 

Upon reconnecting in 2019 and performing together for the first time in 25 years at the Blues Cruise encore performance, the pair decided to continue their collaboration in the form of a new Eric Gales album.

Eric Gales Crown album cover

(Image credit: Eric Gales)

“There was always a brotherhood with us,” explains Gales. “When we reconnected, Joe said to me, ‘You’re a badass guitarist; it’s your turn to get your seat at the table to wear your crown.’”

Recalling the time he asked JoBo to produce the effort, Gales continued, “We cried when we talked about it, he said, ‘You have no idea how long I waited for you, now I am going to do my part to lift you where you’re supposed to be.’”

Further fueling the 16-track album – composed of 13 songs and three instrumentals – is Gales’ response to the murder of George Floyd, which took place before work commenced on the album.

“As I began to chat about this to Joe and Josh during preproduction, raw and unnerved emotion came out of me, and Joe furiously scribbled down notes about it all,” Gales commented. “These songs came from those outpourings. 

“They’re about my life, and what’s happening in the world right now. When it came time to sing, I had to take breaks between vocals to cry and let it out," he revealed. "I was sharing my experiences as a Black man, and my private struggles. This is me letting the world know what I’ve been through.”

You can find the Crown tracklist below.

  1. Death of Me
  2. The Storm
  3. Had to Dip
  4. I Want My Crown (ft. Joe Bonamassa)
  5. Stand Up
  6. Survivor
  7. You Don't Know The Blues
  8. Rattlin' Change
  9. Too Close To The Fire
  10. Put That Back
  11. Take Me Just As I Am (ft. LaDonna Gales)
  12. Cupcakin'
  13. Let Me Start With This
  14. I Found her
  15. My Own Best Friend
  16. I Gotta Go
  • Crown will drop January 28, and is available to preorder now via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.