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Joe Bonamassa at the Fox Theatre, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff

Posted: Friday, November 8, 2019

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Joe Bonamassa hasnít done much since he opened for B.B. King 30 years ago, at the age of 12.

The blues-rock guitarist from New York state has only released 13 studio albums and even more concert sets (including this yearís "Live at the Sydney Opera House"), amassing a staggering 22 No. 1ís on the Billboard blues charts. Heís also recorded with Beth Hart and Rock Candy Funk Party, is part of the all-star Black Country Communion and has recently started producing albums for others in addition to running the nonprofit Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation.

Itís been a big career, in other words, and one that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

ē Though still young at 42, Bonamassa says by phone that heís aware heís become something of an "elder statesman" among the blues-rock community. "I had a conversation with Kenny Wayne Shepherd about that this year. I just looked at him and said, 'Dude, when did we become the old men?í íCause for years it was him, myself, Johnny Lang, and we looked up to B.B. King and Buddy Guy. Now itís a generational change. Itís a weird place, ícause none of us feel old. Weíve just been around so long that weíre old by default."

ē The main difference over the years, Bonamassa says, is heís "a lot mellower these days than I used to be. I donít feel like I have to fight the world. When I listen to the older stuff I hear a kid with a lot of enthusiasm and not a lot of restraint ó 'I gotta show the world I can play guitar!í ó I think that worked for that time, but your priorities change over the years. Now you try to write a good song and make a record that you like and thatís honest. If people like it, great. If they donít, weíll try it again in six months."

ē Bonamassa recently entered the production ranks as well, helming a solo album by his keyboardist Reese Winans, formerly of Stevie Ray Vaughanís Double Trouble, and is now working on releases for Joanna Connor and Eric Gales. "Itís fun. I didnít know if I was going to enjoy the experience, but I did. Apparently thereís something in my personality that likes bossing musicians who are better than me around from behind the (studio) glass. I donít know what that says about me, but itís therapeutic."

ē Bonamassa will be working on his next studio album during January in Abbey Road Studios in London. "I want to make a proper British blues album. Iíve written songs that are very British-centric. The British had a way in the late í60s of taking American blues songs and kind of injecting them with a swagger that was a little foreign to American blues. Theyíre more rock records than blues records, but they were playing the blues. I want to capture that kind of approach."

ē Black Country Communion ó which also includes Jason Bonham, Glenn Hughes (ex-Deep Purple) and Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater) ó has tentative set January of 2021 to record its fifth and what Bonamassa predicts will be group's final album. "Itís just a band that moves at a glacial pace. Itís been a great experience playing in a band with those guys. Itís a wonderful band. But thisíll probably be the last record and weíll do some dates and bookend it nicely and call it a day."

Joe Bonamassa performs at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $59 and up. Call 313-471-6611 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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