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Joe Bonamassa - Black Rock

J & R Adventures

Recording in Santorini, Greece permeates Joe Bonamassa’s latest Black Rock with exotic ambience from Cairo and jukejoint fever from Dirty South.

Surrounding himself with Greek musicians and having Kevin Shirley take the controls again, Bonamassa flies high not losing the blues licks he took from his British heroes.

Longtime friend B.B. King shows up and trades vocals and guitar licks with Joe in Willie Nelson’s “Night Life.” There’s the Zeppelin Kasmir influenced “Blue And Evil” with Bonamassa pulling off his best Jimmy Page runs.

Having the Greek musicians play bouzouki and clarino takes listeners to the desert as Bonamassa’s “Quarryman’s Lament” and Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire” weave a Middle Eastern tapestry of romance and street beggar ethics.

The Elmore James classic “Look Over Yonder’s Wall” isn’t done in its usual slide barroom fashion. It’s as if B.B. King never left the studio because it has his marks.

And if you want to know about acid-folk blues, then “Athens To Athens” is the perfect bridge from one side of the globe to another. One minute your watching the Greek sunset and the next minute you are teleported to Highway 61 shaking hands with Robert Johnson.

Joe never takes much time between album releases. He is smart in releasing product every year that puts him in the spotlight and takes listeners on a journey. Black Rock only completes the circle.

Review by Gary “Wingman” Weeks.

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