Albums: Joe Bonamassa – Redemption

This week we have a new release up for review. As with every Joe Bonamassa release I was excited when I picked this up. I’m a guitar player, so there are certain artists and albums that are just going to get my attention more than others and Joe is one of them.  Joe Bonamassa is certainly one of this eras most renown guitar heroes, and for good reason, he’s an amazing player. However, I’m just going to come out and say it, I’m not a big fan of this album yet. I’m going to say “yet” as sometimes the really great stuff needs some time to sink in. Now, don’t get me wrong, the album is good, it’s just not great in my opinion. It has some great moments for sure and there are some really good tracks. 43676257_1898281763623434_3350130574562951168_n

For me the stand outs are : “Molly-O”, “Self Inflicted Wounds“, “The Ghost of Macon Jones” , “Just ‘Cos You Can Don’t Mean You Should” and “Love is  Gamble”.   All of these are worth a listen as is the rest of the album except perhaps “Stronger Now In Broken Places”. It’s a pretty song but that’s about all I can say about it. Not my cup of tea one bit and I’d be embarrassed if the track came on during random play while I was out cruising around in my car rocking out. I think the problem I have with the album is two fold. One, I think it’s a tad too polished and two, there’s too much diversity going on and some of that is inside the individual songs themselves. Some of the tracks could have been much better if recorded and/or mixed differently I think.  ‘Evil Mama” and “KIng Bee Shakedown” are probably the best example. “Evil Mama’ has an identity crisis. I hear an absolute rocker that could have been a massive anthem tune for Joe. That thing could be gnarly as hell and it would smash but as much as I love horns I feel in some parts they take away from this song and the backing vocals are a pretty trimming that this song shouldn’t want. It’s still a great tune but I it’s snarling guitar tone, interesting progression and down and dirty feel get side swiped by too much pretty and sophistication. Too many gear shifts and styles crammed into one song. Missed opportunity. “King Bee Shakedown” is another one here I think could have been a winner also. I’m a huge Brian Setzer Orchestra fan, as well as swing in general, and I also love rockabilly and psychobilly a whole lot so I so want to love this song. The horns are just too much for me. Something about them just doesn’t add the cool edge I think they should. Half the time they’re great and the other half they’re annoyingly too pretty again. The driving rockabilly riff just seems in conflict here. It’s down and dirty again with too much Christmas special happiness. I would have loved to hear this as a ripper with a proper rockabilly/country/jazz stylized solo I know Joe is capable of. Is the album worth buying? Yes. Is it one of my favorites? No. Will I play the snot out of it? Probably not. I will however give it further listen but I think overall there are too many styles, head nods and moving parts on this album for me to really get into it. 7 out of 10 for Joe Bonamassa fans. Just not what I was hoping for here. 8 out of 10 if you’re a regular music listener.

Vinyl is available here: Joe Bonamassa – Redemeption

CD is available here: Joe Bonamassa – Redemption

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