Joe Bonamassa is hugely regarded by fellow guitarists and has 13 studio albums to his name – yet, as he self-deprecatingly is happy to reveal to audiences at his gigs, he’s never had a hit.
In fact, despite having a massive and loyal band of fans, he is far from a household name in this country.
That is odd, really, as he possesses a great rock voice and has to be one of the most technically gifted guitarists ever to play the blues.
Maybe he was born out of his time. You can’t help but feel that if he’d been playing his trade in the 1970s he would have been a legend.
As it is, Bonamassa is a prolific musician who is not afraid to wear some of his influences on his sleeve. There is a massive nod to the fretwork of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page on Stones in My Passway, while Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go has a ZZ Top-like riff.
Bonamassa recently said he had spent several weeks examining the playing style of Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler and you can hear the result on Heavenly Soul.
Bonamassa really hits the heights when he lets rip with a blistering guitar solo. There are such moments on A Place In My Heart (written by Bernie Marsden) and Tom Waits’ New Coat Of Paint.
One of the best songs, however, is the album’s title track, a Bonamassa song which does not have a real guitar break but which has plenty of mood and just forces you to surrender to the man’s skills both as a writer and as an excellent musician.
No hits then, here, probably, but a masterpiece of an album all the same.