Album Reviews
Band: Joe Bonamassa

Title: Redemption

Label: Provogue / Mascot Label Group

 

What can be written about twice Grammy nominated star Joe Bonamassa that hasn't already been written over the last ... ooh ... decade at least? Exactly, and I'm not about to start making things up on the spot when it comes to his 13th studio album (13th!!), 'Redemption', aided as usual by friend and producer Kevin Shirley, so I'll just get straight into it!

It all kicks off in fine fashion with the Planet Rock favourite 'Evil Mama', which seems to have the late, great John Bonham on the drums, such is the power given on each stroke, but it's the horn and backing singers that really give this song a huge hoof up the hint end, not forgetting the fly-away solo that Joe throws in half way through, then out of nowhere, up pops the Rockabillied Blues Bopper 'King Bee Shakedown'.  Maybes he's been listening to The Brian Setzer Orchestra lately, as this just echoes everything that 'dude' has been coming out with for ever and a day since his Stray Cats era, and it just screams out 'dance to me'!!

'Molly 'O' ' hits the Rockier side that Joe brings to the table with Black Country Communion.  The pulsating rhythm relentless throughout the track, the harder riffs boosting the song as it goes along, then the rhythm changes gear to a more upbeat, driving with the top down tempo with 'Deep In The Blues Again', though the lyrics push against all of that in reality.

'Self-inflicted Wounds' slows the tempo right down, the lyrics once more painfully close to home for Joe, which, while listening to them, you can understand why this song has that achingly, drawn-out vibe to it.  You can almost feel the pain he's feeling as he sings his words.  The solo that closes the song as telling as anything he does on the album.  Lifting up the mood a touch is the Honky-Tonk strutting 'Pick Up The Pieces', giving the feeling of Prohibition-era America at it's ... erm ... best, well, when it comes to music at least, the brass section and keys reliving scenes of 'Bugsy Malone' for all of us who love that film (!!), following on with the rambling, countryfied 'The Ghost Of Macon Jones', joined on vocals by Nashville star Jamey Johnson, this time the lyrics telling a different story completely.

Hitting the 'Gary Moore button' this time, Joe brings Blues/Rock to the fore on 'Just 'Cos You Can Don't Mean You Should', once again the horn section making their presence felt on this foot-tapper, solo tucked in nicely as well, thank you, followed nicely by the title track, it's slide/acoustic intro easing the track in gently before it bursts into life on a huge gospel/soul backing and Led Zep string/riff extravaganza that rocks the foundations of the Soul, before it peters out slowly on a swirling key and acoustic combo.  Bleedin' marvelous!! 

'I've Got Some Mind Over What Matters' tickles it's way in on a nifty little loose riff, the chirpy vibe almost taking the pi ... pee (!) out of what went on in Joe's private life recently, only for the Man to strip down things drastically on the tear-jerking acoustic ballad 'Stronger Now In Broken Places', 'stripped down' being the only way to describe it, as there is only the vocals and guitar from Joe here, helped out ever so lightly by Midnight Oil's Jim Moginie and Kate Stone who provide soundscapes and handpan respectively.  Even from a Man's perspective, this breaks your heart, dude.

After such an intense, emotional song, the only way Joe could bring the album to the finale is to go out with a 'BANG', and the Man doesn't disappoint with the finger-snapping, head-nodding, hip swaying Blues/Rocker  'Love Is A Gamble'.  His guitar work as classy as anything that has come before, and for the final time, that brilliant horn section 'do da biz', ma-aan!  If one song on this album explained why Joe Bonamassa is held in such high esteem in the World of Music, then this song shows us why, and for this to be an album that is his way of dealing with the trials and tribulations of his recent private life, My God, can you imagine what is to come when all is Hunky-Dory for him!!!!  Absolutely riveting stuff, Mr. Bonamassa.

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Evil Mama
2.  King Bee Shakedown
3.  Molly 'O'
4.  Deep In The Blues Again
5.  Self-Inflicted Wounds
6.  Pick Up The Pieces
7.  The Ghost Of Macon Jones
8.  Just 'Cos You Can Don't Mean You Should
9.  Redemption
10. I've Got Some Mind Over What Matters 
11. Stronger Now In Broken Places
12. Love Is A Gamble

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