Joe Bonamassa: Blues Of Desperation

All-original 12th solo album from the modern blues king.

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Opinion on Joe Bonamassa – the prodigious guitar nerd who supported BB King aged 12, and now makes records with (Led Zep/Maiden/Rush producer) Kevin Shirley – roughly splits into two camps: those who love his playing, which has challenged and shaped 21st-century blues rock, and those who just see a boring twat in a suit.

Twelve albums in, can Blues Of Desperation change much? It’s certainly shaken things up chez Bonamassa. Where he previously leaned heavily on covers, this is now his second album of originals in a row. There are softer, and schmaltzier, moments , but overall it’s his rockiest, loosest solo LP in years.

It was a smart move. Opener This Train is so moreish we had to play it several times in succession. Momentum continues in the title track with its commanding, Zeppelin-esque mysticism and groove, while Distant Lonesome Train streamlines his stylish chops into a high-voltage blues-rock frame.

There are slower, less effectual burners as well, but there’s a raw authority not seen in his last couple of records; something that reinstates him as a gutsy rocker of flesh and bone, not just a virtuoso show pony.

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.