Bonamassa’s extra-curricular activities have slimmed with Black Country Communion’s termination, but he’s still pals with Beth Hart, the LA singer-songwriter he partnered on 2011’s hit Don’t Explain.
Once again here, he’s the supportive side-man to Hart’s blue-eyed belter. He takes an unexceptional, long solo during Donny Hathaway’s I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know, but that’s about it. Material ranging from Billie Holiday’s Them There Eyes to Lucinda Williams’ Can’t Let Go is a busman’s holiday from his Brit blues heartland, but nothing’s a stretch.
The brassy, uptown production is from the Michael Parkinson end of Lonely Street, where Hart too has the chops for the job, taking Nutbush City Limits and blowing a free-spirited gale through its mean, tight-arsed town. Swampy ambience opens Strange Fruit, the Holiday-immortalised lynching lament. It’s a nervy choice, respectfully done. Like most of the record, it’s also pretty redundant.