It’s been a big year for Joe Bonamassa so far. He released Driving Towards The Daylight in May; he’s been hard at work on the third Black Country Communion album with Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian; and in January he unveiled his set of signature Seymour Duncan humbucker pickups. It seems there’s always something to do when you’re one of the most popular blues rock guitarists in the world, huh?
Daylight features plenty of firey blues-rock playing and some gorgeous guitar tones. “It’s been well-received,” Bonamassa says. “We’re not really blues to begin with, but close enough!” Aside from a few great Bonamassa originals, tracks include songs by Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor, Bernie Marsden (“Marsden’s a super-nice guy!”), Tom Waits, Bill Withers, and Australian singer Jimmy Barnes, who guests on a cover of his own “Too Much Ain’t Enough Love,” a song Barnes co-wrote with Randy Jackson, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain and Tony Brock.
Bonamassa knows the value of presentation and of setting a mood for the music, and the cover of Daylight is a perfect example of this. “This one was my idea,” He explains. “We had the title, Driving Towards The Daylight, and in the initial few mock-ups they sent me a picture of a headlight from a Pontiac. I said, ‘surely we can do better than this.’ So I sent them back a bunch of pictures of old racing posters and said “This is what we want to do. The old Monaco posters.” I’m a vintage nut, so that’s what I do!” The result is a bold, evocative image that sets the scene for the driving blues-rock inside.
It’s now six months since the Bonamassa pickups were officially launched at the NAMM Show, and Bonamassa regularly hears from players who have in installed them in their guitars. There have even been quite a few reports of folks buying a set without yet owning the Les Paul they plan to put them in. “My favourite part is when someone writes on Facebook, “I’m not a fan of you. In particular, I dislike your music – but I like your pickups” Either way, that’s a satisfied customer, y’know?”
Aside from continued touring, Bonamassa has just wrapped up his portion of work on the third Black Country Communion record. “The album’s coming out great! My bit is finished. It’s a fine, solid effort by a good dais of musicians! It certainly fills a niche. My favorite reviews was one of those English ‘too hip for the room’ magazines, who reviewed it poorly and said ‘These guys are living in the past, blah blah blah blah, made a record that sounds like 1972.’ And I go ‘That’s the whole point! We’re not trying to be the Arctic Monkeys! They already exist! We’re not trying to break bread with the young kids that are on the charts and happening. We offer an alternative to what’s on the radio. New songs done as if they were recorded as if they were recorded in 1972, done by musicians who play in that style.”
Joe Bonamassa Australian Tour 2012
Mon October 1 – Perth Concert Hall, Perth
Wed October 3 – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane
Fri October 5 – The State Theatre, Sydney
Sun October 7 – The Civic Theatre, Newcastle
Tue October 9 – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide
Thur October 11 – The Palais Theatre, Melbourne