Joe Bonamassa, guitar, acoustic guitar and vocals; Eric Czar, bass guitars; Kenny Kramme, drums and percussion
Additional musicians: Benny Harrison, Hammond B-3 Organ and Jon Paris, harmonica
Joe Bonamassa began playing guitar at the age of four and opened at the age of twelve for B.B. King who called him "a legend in the making." Well, it appears that some critics agree with King because Bonamassa has garnered major publicity and has been dubbed the new "phenom." I was skeptical about this CD since I caught Bonamassa at a recent blues festival and left during the middle of the first song which was ear-splitting rock-oriented. I have to say that the CD is more blues-oriented and although it is rockish-infused, there is much to enjoy.
"Never Make Your Move Too Soon" reveals Bonamassa's superb guitar skills and a garish vocal style. Bonamassa's version of the Lowell Fulson blues standard "Reconsider Baby" is soulful with sensitive guitar treatment. "Around The Bend" is a composition by Bonamassa and Will Jennings (Grammy and Academy Award-winner) which has a lush background of percussion sounds and guitar supporting Bonamassa's emotionally charged lyrics. "Revenge Of The Ten Gallon Hat" is an instrumental country ditty that is infectiously interesting. There is a slow vocal on "When She Dances." The title cut, "Had To Cry Today," is a Steve Winwood composition and this one rocks with bent, sustained guitar notes. "The River" features Jon Paris on harmonica and evokes the Mississippi folklore spirit in a totally contemporary fashion. On "When The Sun Goes Down," Bonamassa states in the liner notes that this is his favorite guitar solo on the CD and it is fierce.
Bonamassa remarked about one tune "this one is best when played loud driving down the freeway" and that aptly describes the entire CD if you are into hard-edged electric blues that give a rush.
by Dorothy L. Hill
New Sounds - October 2004
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