Joe Bonamassa Live at Carnegie Hall Acoustic Album
I can hear the cries – no another Joe Bonamassa album not another live album! Yes, we know he has played live at so many prestigious concert halls and venues. Yes, we know he played Carnegie Hall and that is rather special, but really why would we want Joe Bonamassa Live at Carnegie Hall Acoustic Album?
- We probably could not afford to go even if we lived in New York
- How many versions of his blues does any record collection need, he has released over the last fifteen years twenty-two albums.
This review, I promise you will tell you why Bluesdoodles believes sincerely why Joe Bonamassa Live At Carnegie Hall Album to add to your personal blues discography.
Joe Bonamassa Live at Carnegie Hall is different an acoustic evening with a massive impact. This is not Joe Bonamassa on a stage trying to replicate, mimic an old-time blues player on a porch deep in the delta. Bonamassa has surrounded himself with an all-star and diverse ensemble of world-class musicians. From China, cellist & erhuist Tina Guo; from Egypt percussionist Hoosam Ramzy; multi-instrumentalist Eric Brazilian, saxophone, Hurdy Gurdy and more; along with regulars on Piano Reese Wynans & Drummer Anton Fig and a trio of Australian backing vocalists. This is acoustic with attitude conjuring deep sounds from the musical arsenal of the world, adding layers of complexity to the acoustic fueled textures and tones. The twelve tracks include favourites and new tracks ensuring the live performance is fresh and alive with sparkling blue tones.
Every track has a special moment and will single out a few. BUT; more important for Bluesdoodles was the collective, message, energy and the vibrancy of music that shimmer and shines as the blues is augmented with roots tones from across the world. Joe Bonamassa said “Despite being among the most ambitious things I’ve done – I played with a 9 piece acoustic band – It came out great. It was a typical Joe freak show.”
The scope is huge and the ambition all-encompassing achieving an album with a deep acoustic feel. It feels personal, intimate as acoustic should despite being recorded in the large Carnegie Hall with the guitar surrounded by a 9 piece band.
Opening with a seriously classic piano intro a whoop and JB joins the duet as the intro shapes the ambiance of the album then with a 1,2,3,4 we hit the beat we know with the opening track revamped from Blues of Desperation, This Train and our introduction to Tina Guo’s Erhu a Chinese two-string bowed musical instrument. With this track the album is gaining a head of steam as we realise that a relaxed Joe B on vocals is having fun. With the opening tracks from the same album we are on familiar territory but the foundations have shifted with new sounds and arrangements. Going back to his ninth album we have the title track Dust Bowl re-worked that gives the strong lyrics more depth and the backing vocals add emotional punctuation. Driving Towards Daylight is a beautiful piece of musical artistry closing with haunting strings and then as the applause dies the guitar picking up the raw notes of the delta harsh, quiet thoughtful as Black Lung Heartache is added to the set list. The guitar joined with a swirl of strings, the Hurdy Gurdy connecting the coalfields of USA from Appalachians across to South Wales, into Europe and across to China wherever men hew coal from the deep dark earth. This power source bringing light and heat to our homes at a personal cost Black Lung .The mood changes like a sky at sunset, vivid, muted bright and darker. Closing out disc one with Livin’ Easy returning to Blues of Desperation with saxophone and piano bringing in a jazz fueled vibe and the languorous beat suits the lyrics. Then Get Back My Tomorrow up beat, the backing vocals add so much tone I like the lyric ‘I wanted more….’ It is okay there is more another six tracks on the second disc.
Opening with Mountain Time given a country treatment leading in to the cover and longest song title on the album from 1929, Blind Alfred Rees; How Can Poor People Stand Such Times and Live? The guitar takes the lead with piano and this is country blues as Joe implores the lyrics with emotional tones a heartfelt holler. Then as a juxtaposition a reworking of Black Country Communion’s Song Of Yesterday. With a tender love song Hummingbird is bought alive in this format tonight in Carnegie Hall, then The Rose gentle musically fragrant with strings and percussion pulling the melody and Joe’s vocals strong and true full of tenderness as the acoustic notes fall silent.
Acoustic can be modern, exciting challenging and above all else acoustic can be experimental as he proves on Joe Bonamassa Live at Carnegie Hall Acoustic album.
So back to the original query why have another Live Joe Bonamassa album?
- Will this collection of musicians ever be repeated?, I doubt it; 9 musicians bought together by love of live music gathered to deliver blues rooted in the world’s musical diversity, history and heritage.
- Joe Bonamassa Live at Carnegie Hall belongs in a personal collection not as a trophy but able to be played in your own space capturing the mood when he played for two nights in New York.
The album, where nothing is overdone, acoustic authenticity maintained, Joe’s vocals the best I have heard. No theatrics, music and the power of lyrics telling the story in perfect harmony.
TENdoodle paws out of TEN ….
- This Train
- The Valley Runs Low
- Dust Bowl
- Driving Towards The Daylight
- Black Lung Heartache
- Blues And Evil
- Livin’ Easy
- Mountain Time
- How Can A Poor Man Stand So Such Times And Live?
- Song Of Yesterday
- Woke Up Dreaming
- The Rose
Available Formats:- 2 CD, 2 DVD, Bluray & 3LP