Way back in the year 2000, Joe released his debut album A New Day Yesterday. With a special guest appearance from Gregg Allman and making the Billboard Top Blues Albums Charts, Bonamassa hit the blues scene hard. The subsequent A New Day Yesterday live DVD that followed eighteen months later, showed the young blues rocker in his natural element, smiling from ear to ear with a guitar in his hands. Right from the start, we know he will become a blues force to be reckoned with.
One stand-out moment from the 2001 Ft Wayne concert was Joe’s stellar rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced.” The tune was the title track on the influential 1967 Hendrix Experience album of the same name. Considered one of his most original and ambitious compositions, the studio version of the song utilized reverse tracking, or playing the drum and guitar parts backwards. This technique was unique for this time but produced fantastic results.
Jimi Hendrix’s raw talent and gifted ways of manipulating the Stratocaster are still unrivaled and attempted today. It’s no surprise that Hendrix served as a major inspiration for a young Joe Bonamassa. In fact, “Voodoo Child” was the first song he learned how to play on guitar. Hendrix not only influenced Joe but according to Joe, “Hendrix was the guy who basically invented the blues-rock genre for guitar players. From the moment Hendrix and the Experience came on the scene, power trios had their work cut out for them.”
Joe channeled the guitar guru on his “Are You Experienced” cover. From the opening riff, you can sense his passion and admiration for Hendrix. What ensued was a fifteen minute, balls to the wall spectacle featuring a euphonious blend of Hendrix style licks mixed with Bonamassa originals. With the band blazing and the crowd digging every blues filled moment, the twenty-four-year-old Joe couldn’t help but smile as we witnessed a guitar-icon at work.