Joe Bonamassa is a blues-rock titan – we know this. And judging by Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks as well as his current summer tour, it’s pretty evident that he’s got the blues thing down pretty good. Better than that. Brilliantly. But today I pose a different question: Is Joe Bonamassa the savior of guitar rock music? I think he is and in what follows, I’m going to give you a list of reasons to think so too.
- Mainstream Rock is Dead and Needs a Savior – I’ve argued elsewhere that rock is not dead. And in a way, it’s not. There’s plenty of indie rock to go around. But what about the mainstream? Look at the great guitar rock bands that are still selling out arenas and amphitheatres – how many of them are new? The Rolling Stones? ’60s. Bruce Springsteen? ’70’s. U2? 80’s. Radiohead? 90’s. Where’s all the new guitar rock music? It’s not on the radio, at least not any bands that we should actually want to listen to. There is very little guitar rock music on mainstream radio, which is dominated now by pop and pop country, and the rock music that IS on the radio is either classic rock or not really worth listening to very much. Guitar rock music needs a saviour. There is a vacancy, an opening for the position. Now we just need a worthy applicant. Who could that man or woman be?
- Jack White Is Awesome, but Jack White Is Not a Movement – Jack White is awesome. He’s an awesome guitarist. He writes awesome songs. I love the guy. But Jack White is not a movement. Jack White is Jack White. Even Jack White + The Black Keys is not really a movement. It’s Jack White + The Black Keys. The last major movement we’ve had in rock was probably grunge. That was the 1990s’ people. Since then we’ve had a loose amalgamation of bands that’s we label either mainstream or indie. We need a new movement for guitar rock music. And that movement is going to need a leader.
- Jam Band Guitarists Aren’t Taken Seriously Enough – I love jam bands. They, like Jack White, are awesome. However, the mainstream music press, the critics, the industry, may take them seriously as something of a commercial force, but not as a movement in rock music. Jam bands are not the next wave. Heck, other than Dave Matthews Band and the occasional Phish song they aren’t even really played on the radio or featured much on music television. Jam bands are a movement. But they aren’t taken seriously enough as a movement and they don’t have the mainstream traction that they need to help make rock the dominant form of musical entertainment again. This isn’t the fault of the jam bands, who I think are doing a great job. It just is what it is.
- The Foo Fighters Are Cool but They’re Not Really New and Really Just Neo-Grunge – The Foo Fighters have a large following, play stadiums, and are by all accounts a rockin’ band. However, they aren’t particularly new. They are deeply rooted in the 1990’s, their time of origin. And not only are they not new in age, their sound isn’t really all that new either. Their sounds is great, but at the end of the day, it’s really rooted in the post-grunge movement of the 1990’s, which is why The Foo Fighters haven’t really started a movement; not like that other band Dave Grohl was in before them (you may have heard of Nirvana). The Foo Fighters are a great guitar rock band. But they aren’t the saviors of guitar rock music.
- Is There Anyone Else From the Last Decade Or So That Could Fill Those Shoes? – I can’t think of anyone? Can you?Oh wait, yes I can, and his name is Joe Bonamassa. Here are some reasons why in the following:
- Joe Bonamassa Is a Great Rock Songwriter – If you weren’t sure of this before you heard Different Shades of Blue – and you should have been because of amazing songs like “The Ballad of John Henry,” you’re sure of it now. “Oh Beautiful!” “Love Ain’t a Love Song,” “Different Shades of Blue,” and many of the rest of the tunes off that album are some of the best guitar rock songs that have come out in years. If you aren’t familiar with them, you should give them a listen ASAP! You’ll be rockin’ out to them in no time.
- Joe Bonamassa Is a Great Rock Singer – Joe Bonamassa has great range, versatility, and overall quality in his singing voice. From the raspy early work of A New Day Yesterday to the creamy vocals of his latest studio and live albums like Driving Towards the Daylight and the Tour de Force series, Joe has a unique, gripping voice that can move people to chills or tears.
- Joe Is Awesome in Both the Studio and Live – You know those bands that put out great albums but never seem to live up to them during their live shows? Or the ones that put on incredible performances but never seem to get it quite right in the studio. Yeah… Joe Bonamassa doesn’t have that problem.
- Joe Bonamassa Is Already a Blues-Rock Titan – In the world of blues-rock, Joe Bonamassa is already becoming a legend. With 12 #1 Blues Albums on the Billboard charts and classic shows at venues like Red Rocks, Radio City, The Royal Albert Hall, The Vienna Opera House, and soon Carnegie Hall, Bonamassa is a blues-rock powerhouse. And you know what blues-rockj is? It’s rock.
- Joe Bonamassa Is The Best Guitarist I’ve Ever Seen – And the number 1 reason why Joe Bonamassa is primed to become the savior of guitar rock music? In addition to all of the other attributes previously mentioned, he’s absolutely the best guitarist I’ve ever seen and unquestionably one of the very best out there today. And don’t take my word for it. Just watch this video and let your jaw drop.
– Brian R.