Joe Bonamassa, guitars and vocals; Eric Czar, bass; and, Kenny Kramme, drums
This CD was recorded live in December 2001 in Fort Wayne, Indiana and it is a follow-up to another CD with the same title without the "live" but with many of the same tunes. Now twenty-seven years of age, Bonamassa has been playing guitar since the age of four and has been proclaimed as hottest new star on the blues-rock horizon.
The opening cut of "Jam Intro" is a heavily synthesized rocked-out instrumental opening. On "Cradle Rock," Bonamassa cries out with intensity over an undulating guitar rhythm which is compellingly exciting. "Steppin Out/Rice Pudding" starts out with a bluesy feeling which quickly turns into a pyrotechnical example of Bonamassaís amazing guitar skills. His vocals on "A New Day Yesterday" are raw and the guitar sizzles while the drummer maneuvers a tasty beat. On "Miss You, Hate You," Bonamassa pleads with emotion on this sensitively rendered tune on which he lowers the thermometer on the guitar. Bonamassa announces that he is going to do some blues and kicks into a mid-tempo "Trouble Waiting" and then gets deep into the blues with a soulful vocal turn on "If Heartaches Were Nickels" and melodic guitar phrasing. Yes, he can play the blues! The ending cut is "Don't Burn Down That Bridge" which is done in an exhilarating rock-based style and I really liked the treatment on this danceable, very groovy number culminating in a dazzling display of dexterity on guitar.
The audience at this live recording can be heard shouting in the distance which adds to the excitement without being distracting. There are eleven tracks on this CD and some of the tunes are quite long which results in a total running time of over an hour. Much as my inclination is to find fault with the fashion of rock artists described as blues, the roots are definitely apparent and this kid can play guitar with the best of them. If your bag is hard driving electric rock with a blues base, this is a good one!
by Dorothy L. Hill