Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Joe Bonamassa - Live from Nowhere

Artist: Joe Bonamassa
Title: Live from Nowhere

Within today’s contemporary blues scene there is an audience that loves a hot guitar player. Some bemoan the act; some adore it. The latest two disc album by Joe Bonamassa is a showcase for the New Yorker axman. There are few players today with the depth in their trick bag that Bonamassa brings to the table. And while simply rolling out impressive lick after lick can make for a tedious listening experience, Bonamassa balances the fine line between serving the song and musical masturbation. Today, it seems the guitar gods of our youth are now either dead or over 60 and matted with gray hair. Clearly Bonamassa has the chops to vie for similar recognition and the poo-poo’s certain to follow such a suggestion are based upon little more than jealousy and a lack of scope.

In addition to being able to write a good song, or at least co-write one, Bonamassa has a well developed history of rock’s finest players and tributes them throughout this latest effort. In the melody ‘Django/Just Got Paid’ Joe throws in licks from a myriad of artists including Peter Frampton and Jimmy Page. On the same disc the live version of his track, ‘Asking Around for You,’ a contemporary blues-rock classic, is instantly recognizable for its ethos of B. B. King; who took the teenage Joe under his wing. So one has to ask, why this rock player is considered by many to be a “blues artist?” For no other reason than that is where his audience can be found and if fans vote with their dollars – Bonamassa is an unheralded upstart that is earning his respect one venue and one fan at a time.

Throughout this live album Bonamassa swings between serving the song and taking off on fret board adventures that may not appeal to all blues fans. Included are some earlier classics including, ‘Woke Up Dreaming’ and a too short version of, ‘If Heartaches were Nickels.” Also included is his now trademark show stopper, “A New Day Yesterday/ Starship Trooper/Wurm’ (covers of songs by Jethro Tull and Yes).

In all this is a radio ready album for shows and fans that derive from a classic rock background and dabble in the blues for sonic familiarity and access to the new artists that, for whatever reason, today’s radio ignores. The track, ‘India/ Mountain Time’ is as strong a blues-rock ballad as rock radio could possibly hope to discover- but in order to discover music one needs to be a leader (and a listener) rather than a pollster and, well, perhaps the absence of Bonamassa of the radio today is a reflection of why pertinent rock radio died in a Wisconsin helicopter crash nearly two decades ago.

So why isn’t this album given a higher rating than eight? ‘Live from Nowhere’ is an album seeped in the blues ala Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin and Rory Gallagher; however, to the “Blues” establishment this is not a “Blues” record…none-the-less it is an easy fit to most ears with soaring solos, tasty keyboard interplay and blistering rushes of bravado. What only time will tell is if this album will cross over into, ‘a dear friend’ that is played for its warmth as much as its songs and solos. “Feel the wind blow, feel the time flow, and I’ll be there when the morning comes.’

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