When you’re a guitarist as blisteringly talented as Joe Bonamassa, it’s easy to focus only on your playing. It’s easy to focus on igniting the blues standards of Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon with your guitar pyrotechnics. And Bonamassa has. Over the last 15 years, Bonamassa’s dozen-plus albums have taken him to the top of the guitar world. But amid the stunning guitar work, what those albums haven’t done is feature original material from front to back. While Bonamassa’s albums have always featured terrific originals, he has not yet released an album of all-original material. This September 23, with the release of Different Shades of Blue, that’s going to change.
“I’ve really had to push myself to make everything I do better than the last project,” Bonamassa said. “I know the fans expect it. And I feel like I owe it to the fans to give them an original record after all these years.”
In order to give the fans what he feels he owes them and write a new kind of album, Bonamassa changed course, heading to Nashville and collaborating with artists like James House (known for playing with Dwight Yoakam and Martina McBride) and Jerry Flowers (Keith Urban), as well as Journey’s Jonathan Cain.
While the setting and the collaborators have changed, the producer remains the same. At the helm for Different Shades of Blue was Kevin Shirley, who has produced Bonamassa’s last 15 projects, in addition to working with Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and the Black Crowes. “It’s definitely my favorite Joe Bonamassa record to date,” Shirley said.
Fans will get their chance to compare Different Shades of Blue to the rest of Bonamassa’s oeuvre this fall. In the meantime, Bonamassa will begin touring in August.