He brought his special brand of music to The Morrison Center at Boise State University on Friday.
"As Joe Bonamassa approaches his 26th year as a professional musician, he continues to blaze a remarkably versatile artistic trail, and amass an authentic, innovative and soulful body of work. Bonamassa’s career began onstage opening for B.B. King in 1989, when he was only 12 years old," his website reads.
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Today, he is hailed worldwide as one of the greatest guitar players of his generation, and is an ever-evolving singer-songwriter who has released 15 solo albums in the last 13 years, all on his own label, J&R Adventures. Bonamassa’s tour schedule consistently hovers at around 200 shows worldwide each year, and a heaping handful of markedly diverse side projects keep him thinking outside the box and flexing every musical muscle he’s got. He founded and oversees the non-profit Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation to promote the heritage of the blues to the next generation, fund music scholarships, and supplement the loss of music education in public schools. There’s a case to be made that Joe Bonamassa, like another star who shared the same initials, is the hardest working man in show business.
In addition to live performances, 2014 will mark four major projects on the J&R release schedule: a live DVD/Blu-ray plus 2-disc companion CD from the neo-funk/jazz combo Rock Candy Funk Party which was filmed over three nights at the legendary Iridium Jazz Club in New York City; a live CD/DVD/Blu-ray with singer Beth Hart filmed at Amsterdam’s famed Carre Theatre last summer while the duo was touring in Europe; and a 4-disc CD package of Tour De Force: Live In London, Bonamassa’s career retrospective recorded and filmed (the DVD/Blu-rays came out in late 2013) at concerts at four iconic London venues. After that, another blues-rock solo album—aka Joe’s “day job”—will follow.
“Sometimes journalists just shake their heads, and ask me ‘Isn’t it risky?,’” says Joe. “But I say why not do it? Why play it safe? I want to diversify, not just always have it be business as usual.”
It all builds on Bonamassa’s ascendant prominence of the past few years. Recent kudos include his very first Grammy nomination for Best Blues Album, which he earned with much buzzed about singer-songwriter Beth Hart for their sophomore collaboration, Seesaw; a Blues Music Award nomination for Best DVD for the 2013 solo acoustic project, An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House; eleven #1 Billboard Blues Albums (more than any other artist); five consecutive “Best Blues Guitarist” wins and a top “Best Overall Guitarist” honor in Guitar Player’s Annual Readers’ Choice Awards, and recognition as Billboard’s #1 Blues Artist, 2010— the year Joe Bonamassa: Live At The Royal Albert Hall was released, featuring Eric Clapton joining him onstage.
Reviewing 2011’s Dust Bowl, Premier Guitar wrote:
“Over time, Bonamassa has created his own universe that no longer has much to do with what we think of as traditional blues. It’s movie music for your mind with astonishingly great guitar playing.”
Regarding Bonamassa’s 2012 album Driving Towards The Daylight (with guests including Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford), Guitar World called him the “roots-based six-string’s new king of pyromania.”
Rolling Stone wrote:
“his exacting singing blends with fiery symphonic playing.”
In a review for the 2012 CD/DVD Joe Bonamassa: Beacon Theatre—Live From New York, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said:
“He makes every note matter and resonate emotionally. Indeed, he is one of the finest musicians in the business today.”