JOE BONAMASSA FACTS:
Genre: Rock, Hard Rock, Blues
Hometown: Utica, New York
Albums: A New Day Yesterday (2000); So, It's Like That (2002); Blues Deluxe (2003); Had to Cry Today (2004); You & Me (2006); Sloe Gin (2007); The Ballad of John Henry (2009); Black Rock (2010); Dust Bowl (2011)
He may not have the name recognition of a Jack White or Eric Clapton, but make no mistake about it, Joe Bonamassa is one of the best guitarists around today. With a gritty combination of blues and hard rock, the fourth-generation guitar player has music flowing through his veins and has been a standout strummer since a very young age.
Drawing influence from a number of areas, but mostly British and Irish guitarists such as Clapton, Bonamassa developed a unique sound that flourished as he entered his teens. He began his career in his early 20s when his debut album, A New Day Yesterday, hit shelves in October 2000. The record was a critical favorite and was lauded as a significant achievement. It also featured a number of contributions from famous artists including backing vocals and guitar from Greg Alllman. One of the tunes on the album, "Miss You, Hate You," is considered to be among his best.
Fresh off the success of his debut, Bonamassa released his follow-up, So, It's Like That, in 2002. Much like its predecessor, the record featured a contemporary take on classic rock and peaked at number one on the blues charts. Throughout the next several year, Bonmassa really took to the studio and released a trio of popular albums including 2003's Blue's Delux and 2006's You & Me.
Though he had made waves within blues rock circles, it was not until the 2009 release of The Ballad of John Henry that Bonamassa first tasted any mainstream success. The record was his first to rack into the Billboard 200 charts and was moderately popular in the United Kingdom as well. With a blend of original songs and covers, the record was a hit among critics as well and marked a turning point in Bonamassa's career.
The talented guitarist continued his hot streak the following year when he released Black Rock. The album performed better than any in his career and cracked the top 40 in the U.S. while sneaking into the top 20 in the U.K. Perhaps most impressive of all is the fact that Bonamassa played with blues legend B.B. King in the tune "Night Life."
At just 33 years old, Bonamassa plays with the experience of a music veteran. It's no surprise that he has been a favorite among critics for years, and as his mainstream appeal continues to grow, his considerable skill will as well.