Hear Joe Bonamassa's fiery new blues-rocker, Notches

Joe Bonamassa
(Image credit: Eleanor Jane)

Joe Bonamassa has debuted a new single, Notches, the first to be taken from his upcoming studio album, which is reportedly due later this year.

Recorded in New York City at Germano Studios/The Hit Factory, the song features Steve Mackey on bass guitar, Lachy Doley on piano, Bunna Lawrie on didgeridoo (!), Bobby Summerfield on percussion, Anton Fig on drums, and Mahalia Barnes, Juanita Tippins, and Prinnie Stevens on backing vocals.

Co-written with Blackberry Smoke's Charlie Starr, Notches scratches the surface of a rawer, harder-edged sound. There’s a bit of a Southern twang to the monstrous central riff, while lyrically Bonamassa dwells on his the obstacles he’s faced in his career.

The lyric “I’ve got miles under my wheels, notches in my walking cane,” suggests the blues rock veteran is perhaps pondering the past a little more these days. 

Bonamassa says of the defiant lyrics: “Twenty years ago, I recorded a record of covers that eventually was called Blues Deluxe. It was recorded at Bobby Nathan's studio in Manhattan. 

"It captured an energy and purpose that always stuck with me as an artist," he continued. "The music business is tough, very tough. Especially back in those days when major labels pulled all the strings and, in my case, all the punches.”

Bonamassa’s earned the right to assert himself a little these days and Notches feels like a confident return. 

Given its origins in New York City sessions, we're wondering if this is the first single from a stripped-down "subway record" Bonamassa mentioned he was planning late last year.

The song follows the announcement that Bonamassa is auctioning off an exclusive ‘Broken Record’ package, which will include his ‘holy grail’ 1959 Gibson Les Paul, a 1963 Fender Vibroverb and an NFT of a song he recorded with them.

The cover of Joe Bonamassa's new single, "Notches"

(Image credit: J&R Adventures)

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.