Joe Bonamassa: The Ballad of John Henry

~ Wednesday, 1 July 2009
The last few years has seen a fairly rapid rise for Bonamassa, going from playing small clubs to the Albert hall in the space of 2 years without actually breaking into the mainstream. In blues and guitar circles he maintains a loyal following and this album will only strengthen their loyalty.

The Americans music is often compared to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Johnson, it is the blues, but he has a flair that few others in the genre can match. Think Rory Gallagher or Danny Gatton.

The album opens with the title track, a pounding piece of classic blues and is followed with a cover of Stop (most people will be familiar with Sam Browns version). This is a blistering blues soul infusion with some breathtaking guitar playing. It really is something special.

Lonesome Road Blues rolls along like a long lost ZZ Top classic with some superb vocals, in fact the vocals throughout the album are faultless.

Another cover is thrown into the mix with Feelin Good. The song has been covered by the likes of Nina Simone, Muse and John Coltrane to name but a few and Bonamassa does a decent job, but brings nothing new to the table.

Highlight of the album is the haunting and beautiful From The Valley. An atmospheric acoustic instrumental that is sure to feature on a movie soundtrack sometime soon.

This is a mighty fine album, but with 4 of the 12 tracks being covers, there are perhaps 2 track two many, but that is minor quibble and does not detract from the enjoyment and I would certainly recommend it to any blues fans out there.

[][][][][ (4.5/5)