Different Shades Of Blue is a tapestry of blue, every shade and hue has been woven with passion, hurt and joy into a fabric that is an enduring sound that will fix Joe Bonamassa as a man who can rock the blues. For me this is the best album from him for a long time he has given himself the freedom and taken confidence in the songs as he says “The writers really inspired me…” the time spent in Nashville was certainly not wasted as the eleven tracks produced by Kevin Shirley in Las Vegas ensure the boundaries have been bent as gracefully as Bonamassa shapes the sound from his guitar.
The vocals are stronger they complement and enhance the listening experience of the guitar work from the opening intro Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) that showcases what to expect. There is a fluidity in the playing you get the feeling that Joe is enjoying what he is playing he is stretching himself slightly out of the comfort zone so not going through studio driven hamster wheel of churning out another album. Oh Beautiful opens with his voice clear and proud of the lyrics then the crash of drums and the heart stopping full fruited guitar riffs wow what a track to have to follow. Simple change the beat, let’s have funky brass and cymbals, and again we have a voice that has been muffled too long on Love Ain’t A Love Song. The title track Different Shades of Blue has a psychedelia 1970’s feel full of subtle tweaks and licks there is a yearning for something not so blue while showing versatility of Joe Bonamassa. Living On The Moon is a foot tapping driven blues that is high-octane and you know this is going to be a musical roller-coaster.
The stand out track on the accomplished album is Never Give It All Your Heart, full of mournful guitar that is like a misty autumn morning all what has been as the ballad structure works so well for the lyrics on this track you are drawn into the music and want to stay swimming into Joe’s blues waters full of hidden depths.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….