A Different Kind of Bluesman

At 37, Joe Bonamassa has already spent a quarter century establishing him as one of the greatest blues guitarists America has ever produced. With his new album, Different Shades of Blue, Bonamassa is riding a seemingly never-ending wave of success, beginning with his discovery at the tender age of 12 by the legendary B.B. King. Different Shades of Blue features all original material, which Bonamassa co-wrote with master songwriters Jonathan Cain (Journey), James House (Diamond Rio, Dwight Yoakam, Martina McBride), Jerry Flowers (Keith Urban), Gary Nicholson (Toby Keith), and Jeffrey Steele (Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw). Renowned producer Kevin Shirley (Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin) has been with Bonamassa for the artist’s past fifteen projects. Of this latest collaboration, Shirley said, “It’s definitely my favorite Joe Bonamassa record to date. It’s an album that deserves to be listened to in its entirety. Luckily Joe’s fan base really seems to appreciate a body of work and not just songs.”

Keeping a relentless touring schedule, Bonamassa continues to expand his fan base, gaining the respect and admiration of new listeners around the world. His charting record speaks for itself: Bonamassa now has more Number One Billboard Blues albums than any other artist. Bonamassa’s success is all the more remarkable because he has achieved it on his own terms, maintaining his devotion to the music and his fans while preserving his integrity as an artist.

Not only does Joe Bonamassa remain committed to the music which has inspired him since childhood, he also focuses his efforts toward ensuring that young people continue to have music programs available to them in school. His Keeping the Blues Alive organization has already helped more than 20,000 students across the country. A music festival cruise planned for February is the next in a series of fundraisers for the program.

Image: Rhonda Pierce

Currently in rehearsal for his much-anticipated performances at Radio City Music Hall on Jan. 23 and 24, the bluesman graciously took the time to answer a handful of questions about his extraordinary journey.

For the full interview, visit Island Zone Update.

roy abrams

roy abrams

Currently living in Kings Park with his wife and stepson, Roy Abrams is an educator, musician, and writer. He created and hosted the popular Island Zone radio show in the late '90s and was a contributor to Crosby, Stills, Nash (and sometimes Young), the authorized biography (Gopher Publishers, 2002).