I have been a blues fan for a while, probably getting my first real taste of it with Stevie Ray Vaughn in the mid-80s. My collection holds albums from a number of bluesmen, to include Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Jellyroll Morton, Little Walter, Robert Cray, as well as more modern guys like Kenny Wayne Shepard and Jeff Healy. I found out about Joe Bonamassa when I heard about Black Country Communion (a band he plays in with vocalist Glenn Hughes, drummer Jason Bonham and keyboardist Derek Sherinian – names familiar to most Metal fans). BCC seemed decent, so I thought I would check out Bonamassa’s solo work.
Dust Bowl is a flat out, down south, slab of guitar driven blues. Bonamassa is a world-class blues guitarist, who can write and play (6 songs) and can faithfully cover the older stuff (6 songs). The original half of the album, though, is more enjoyable than the older songs. The covers are not bad, I just like Bonamassa’s songwriting style better. The nods to the old time sound of the genre are well done, but he has a more modern feel to his songs, mixing several other genres in along the way. Opener Slow Train is an original highlight, chugging along at a slower pace, great lyrics and exemplary guitar work along the way – and the instruments replicating a sound of a train starting to roll at the beginning – kind of cool. It is one of the more classic sounding songs on the album. The title track is definitely more modern sounding, sort of a haunting song in its mood, a bit of desperation in the lyrics, definitely fitting for the blues. Tennessee Plates is more of a humorous tune, actually sounding like a mix between country and blues featuring guest vocalist John Hiatt. Black Lung Heartache has an Americana feel to it, instrumentally and lyrically, almost a mix of blues and bluegrass.
The album as a whole is a great exploration of the blues. Here is the title track:
I hear the sound in a METAL way (except the blues).