Throughout his remarkable career, Joe Bonamassa has not strayed far from his blues roots. In fact he may be the only performer who can make a Leonard Cohen song sound like a blues-rock anthem as he did with his cover of Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire,” which appeared on his “Black Rock” album.
His latest release, “Driving Towards Daylight,” marks both another chapter in the evolution of Joe Bonamassa as a performer, and a return to his blues roots. Accompanied by a band of seasoned pros including Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford and drummer Anton Fig of Letterman’s band, Joe delivers another great set of blues numbers seasoned with a hint of rock and roll.
As has been the case with the last few solo releases, Joe is careful not to get stuck in one style of blues for the entire album. There are songs with a hint of Texas blues like the opening track “Dislocated Boy,” and a reworking of Bill Wither’s “Lonely Town Lonely Street” which transforms the song into something that sounds more like vintage ZZ Top than Withers.
There is also a healthy dose of traditional blues style numbers like a wonderful cover of Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking?” and Bonamassa’s own “I Got All You Need.”
The album is as diverse as the blues music that inspired Joe Bonamassa. If there is one thing that stands out even more than Joe’s guitar playing it is his vocalization. On the title cut, “Driving Towards Daylight,” he sounds better than he ever has vocally. While the change in Joe’s vocal style is not drastic, it is noticeable and he seems to be singing with additional confidence.
The one cut Bonamassa doesn’t sing lead on is the album’s closer, a gritty reworking of the Jimmy Barnes hit, “Too Much Ain’t Enough Love,” featuring Barnes on vocals. The song is a gem that I had long forgotten about and made for a great ending to the album.
Overall “Driving Towards Daylight” is a wonderful album that will undoubtedly please longtime Bonamassa fans and with Brad Whitford’s presence on the album may bring a few Aerosmith fans into the fold as well.