“Had To Cry Today”
If you’re a music fan and don’t know the name Joe Bonamassa by now, you will soon. Although the term “prodigy” is often overused in the music business, that’s exactly what Joe Bonamassa is, now having developed his skills from that of a young guitar slinger into a more mature and much diversified musician. Consider that a young Bonamassa first touched a guitar at the early age of 4, was playing complete Stevie Ray Vaughan songs by the age of 8, and by 12, Bonamassa was opening for the legendary B.B. King. Having played with the likes of Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and Buddy Guy, it’s fair to say that Joe Bonamassa, now a mature 27, has always had the chops to impress some of the best in the business.
After a brief stint as guitarist in the band Bloodline, Bonamassa ventured out on his own and hasn’t looked back since. His 2000 debut release, “A New Day Yesterday”, was filled with well-constructed blues-based rock songs and a ton of guitar playing, featuring special guest appearances from Leslie West, Gregg Allman, and Rick Derringer. “So It’s Like That” followed, this time further developing Bonamassa’s vocals and song writing talents. His third effort, 2003’s “Blues Deluxe”, was a return to Bonamassa’s blues roots and musical inspirations. In contrast, the focus on “Had To Cry Today” is that of a musical resume which highlights all of Bonamassa’s diverse talents, yet staying true to his blues roots.
From the fast paced opening track, “Never Make Your Move Too Soon” to the very finish of the instrumental “Faux Mantini, Bonamassa and the boys deliver in every aspect. Bandmates Eric Czar (bass) and Kenny Kramme (drums) do a terrific job creating the feel of each track’s intent, moving from hard rock to slow blues to rockabilly country and back again without missing a note. Highlights include Lowell Fulson’s “Reconsider Baby”, masterfully re-created will a ton of feel, and “The River”, a Zeppelin-esque take on the Mississippi blues (along the lines of a “When The Levee Breaks” type of groove). Bonamassa also pays tribute to his late friend and guitar mentor Danny Gatton on “Revenge of the 10 Gallon Hat”, displaying his talents in multiple music aspects.
Joe Bonamassa’s guitar playing easily stands up to any of the other youthful blues guitar slingers out there on the circuit today. Incorporating a diverse mix of Chicago, Delta, and English Blues, “Had To Cry Today” is an enjoyable listen from start to finish. With a guitar in hand, Joe Bonamassa can do it all, and with his latest effort, he certainly proves that to be true.
- Don Sikorski