Artist Spotlight
October 27, 2021

October 27th Featured Artist - Joe Bonamassa!

Joe Bonamassa

Alright blues fans, it’s time to tell us your thoughts on Joe Bonamassa. He’s this week’s featured artist!

Born Joseph Leonard Bonamassa May 8th 1977, he is an American blues rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He started his career at age 12, when he opened for B.B. King. In the last 13 years Bonamassa has put out 15 solo albums through his independent record label J&R Adventures, of which 11 have reached number 1 on the Billboard Blues charts.

Bonamassa started playing guitar at age four, encouraged by his father, who was an avid music fan and exposed him to British blues rock records by Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, greatly inspiring him. At 11 years old, Joe was mentored and trained by American guitar legend Danny Gatton. When he was 12 years old, he had his own band called Smokin' Joe Bonamassa, which gigged around western New York and Pennsylvania, including cities such as Scranton and Buffalo, but only on weekends since Joe had school on weekdays. Bonamassa opened for B.B. King at approximately 20 shows in 1989. In 1991, he performed on The Mickey Mouse Club.

Key elements in his style include trademark pentatonic picking patterns, long sustained bends with vibrato, repeated rhythmic motifs, and melodically simple but rhythmically complex phrases. Bonamassa's unique style blends blues, rock, and jazz fusion together.

Unlike many blues rock guitarists that came before him, Bonamassa's influences are British and Irish blues acts rather than American artists. Among guitarists, he is known for his extensive collection of vintage guitars and amplifiers, containing more than 400 guitars and 400 amplifiers. He affectionately refers to his home which houses his collection as “Nerdville”, and the section with vintage gear as “The Bona-seum”.

Bonamassa has played alongside many notable blues and rock artists, and earned a Grammy Award nomination in 2013. 

Check below for a live performance and a tab of how to play his performance of "I'll Play The Blues For You"!

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