RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Joe Bonamassa – Different Shades of Blue
J&R Adventures

Rating: B

Joe Bonamassa is an amazing guitarist.  He is also a top notch composer as well as an emotional performer.  His latest effort, Different Shades of Blue is yet another fine feather in his cap that includes all of the aforementioned talents.  This time around, Joe wrote all of the songs on the album and his fans will love every note.  He set out to write an original blues album and he accomplished his goal with another well-done effort.  The ‘atta boy’s’ for Bonamassa seem to come every time he releases an album.  Why, then, am I not all that excited about this release? 

I want to start this review by emphatically stating I am a huge Joe B. fan.  I have mad respect for all of his talents and, truth be told, there is way-more good about this album than bad.  It is another seemingly effortless triumph for the talented artist.  Hell, maybe it’s me, maybe I am jaded and just out of sorts with the world around me.  It is easy to allow outside influences to taint a review.  The mood of the reviewer or their bias can easily sneak into a review, but this time I don’t think so.  Maybe it is just that Joe makes it seem sooooooo damn easy... effortless.  Then again, maybe Joe has done this so much, and it has been so good, that it is just the lame case of ‘been there done that.’  Oh, maybe I should not EVEN post this review…I mean, I am basically saying this new music is well written, expertly performed and all of the songs kinda kick ass…but I am not sure I like it.  It must be me but, man, I just can’t vibe on this in the same way I have vibed on Mr. B with his Beth Hart collaborations or the way I do with that underappreciated Black Rock album.  Either way, I guess even I have to admit I am being honest in this review... in a personal way. 

Rock dogs, rocker chicks and blues guitar fans all over the world, there are not words in this review to heed here.  Joe Bonamassa is an amazing talent and the opening notes of “Hey Baby” demonstrate that he’s still got it (not that we will ever think he ‘lost’ it).  The entire thing is another blues/rock masterpiece from Bonamassa.  Maybe he needs to release something that really sucks so I can more appreciate what he does consistently.  You see, one thing here is that I miss the Black Country Communion Joe a lot, and this album has shades of that type of playing and it makes me wish this was a BCC release.  How crazy is that?

The bottom line is that one should never just trust a review, as I think we may all have lost our minds.  For fuck’s sake, this is another damn fine album by Bonamassa.  You will not regret buying this one if you like this sort of music at all.  Yet, maybe I am struggling because I am wishing, hoping and kinda begging Joey B to stretch out and rock harder.  Maybe I am just being selfish and saying, “Joe, you’re the closest thing to a Jimi Hendrix/Jimmy Page type guitar hero we have today.  Give us something that will make us drool.”  Yes, that’s it.  I want Joe to push himself even harder, as I think as damn fine as this release is, the best is yet to come. 

Never mind me.  Buy this sucker and tell me to shut the hell up and do an interview. 

Track Listing:
Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)       
Oh Beautiful!
Love Ain't a Love Song  
Living on the Moon
Heartache Follows Wherever I Go          
Never Give All Your Heart
I Gave Up Everything for You, 'Cept the Blues     
Different Shades of Blue
Get Back My Tomorrow 
Trouble Town   
So, What Would I Do

By Jeb Wright