Joe Bonamassa has announced his upcoming studio album, Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, which has been previewed with a particularly notable new single.
Titled Twenty-Four Hours Blues, the song is said to contain not just some of Bonamassa's best vocals, but also one of his best-ever electric guitar solos, which features “lines you've probably never heard Joe play before”.
Those were the words of Bonamassa’s blues contemporary Josh Smith, who produced the album, with the Ibanez signature artist making his thoughts plainly clear: “The outro solo is incredible.”
Now, Bonamassa’s solo repertoire is absolutely rammed with an inconceivable number of hair-raising guitar solos, so for Smith to say this particular effort stands out above the majority is very, very high praise indeed.
So, do Smith’s words stand up? Well, yes, is the short answer. The outro solo is indeed incredible – a quintessential Bonamassa lick clinic that lasts more than a minute, loaded with awe-inspiring bends and ‘board-spanning phrases.
It feels fair to call it one of his best-ever, too – a claim made by Bonamassa's camp – owing to the emotive urgency that’s seemingly piled into each note and gain-laden run. An earlier solo also finds JoBo on top form, though it's the latter effort that, for our two cents, really stands out.
As mentioned above, Smith was responsible for production duties – and the blues virtuoso said he had a clear direction for Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 when he was first approached by JoBo about the gig.
“I wanted the fans to hear the completely natural, relaxed Joe that I hear when we are just goofing around playing guitars,” he commented. “He really was in the moment and feeling completely supported and I know that he really ‘went for it’ on everything.”
When it arrives on October 6, Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 will serve as a sequel to, and celebrate the 20th anniversary of, Blues Deluxe – Bonamassa’s defining third studio album, which arrived in 2003 when JoBo’s blues music career was in jeopardy.
“If you had told me 20 years ago my career would last long enough to see the 20th anniversary of this little record called Blues Deluxe, I’m sure I would have laughed,” Bonamassa commented. “Blues Deluxe was my last shot after being dropped by two major record labels and my booking agent.
“It was then that my manager, Roy Weisman, had his first ‘all in’ moment,” JoBo continues. “We would go back into the studio and record. A record that would hopefully define the direction of whatever future career I might have.”
In a similar spirit to its predecessor, Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 will see Bonamassa pay tribute to the artists and guitarists who have influenced his playing throughout the years, comprising reimagined covers of classic blues tracks – as well as a couple originals.
Songs by the likes of Bobby Parker, Guitar Slim, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Pee Wee Crayton, as well as Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac and Albert King can all be found on the tracklist.
To help him, Bonamassa recruited the services of Reese Wynans on keys, bass guitar player Calvin Turner and drummer Lamar Carter. Smith also features alongside Kirk Fletcher on one track.
“The contrast between a cocky 26-year-old and an established 46-year-old is considerable,” Bonamassa said of Blues Deluxe Vol. 2. “Does the fire still burn like it did? Am I still playing hungry? Am I even good enough to pay tribute to my heroes all over again? The answer lies somewhere in this album.”
The tracklist for Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 can be found below.
- Twenty-Four Hour Blues (originally performed by Bobby “Blue” Bland)
- It’s Hard But It’s Fair (originally performed by Bobby Parker)
- Well, I Done Got Over It (originally performed by Guitar Slim)
- I Want to Shout About It (originally performed by Ronnie Earle & The Broadcasters)
- Win-O (originally performed by Pee Wee Crayton)
- Hope You Realize It (Goodbye Again) *original song written by Joe Bonamassa & Tom Hambridge
- Lazy Poker Blues (originally performed by Fleetwood Mac)
- You Sure Drive a Hard Bargain (originally performed by Albert King)
- The Truth Hurts Feat. Kirk Fletcher and Josh Smith (originally performed by Kenny Neal)
- Is It Safe To Go Home *original song written by Josh Smith
- Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 is available to preorder now ahead of its October 6 release.