Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl (J&R Adventures) (review)

Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl (J&R Adventures) CD review

It’s hard to believe that Dust Bowl is guitarist Joe Bonamassa’s ninth studio album already – his solo career barely a decade old.  Over that time, he’s matured as a vocalist and stylist – and his new disc shows just how far he’s come.

He keeps pretty good company here – ringing up John Hiatt to help on the great “Tennessee Plates” which originally appeared on Hiatt’s Slow Turning back in 1989.  Country superstar Vince Gill guests on barroom boogie “Sweet Rowena.”  Another surprise is the vocals by former Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes on the Paul Rodgers & Free album track “Heartbreaker” (Bonamassa has stated many times that he’s a huge fan of Free’s Paul Kossof).  The album shares a lot of the same meaty feel of his previous effort, Black Rock (both were produced by Kevin Shirley), but there are some nice surprises too.

Several tracks explore the rootsier side of American music hinted at in the title, Dust Bowl, including the Appalachian feel of “Black Lung Heartache,” the aforementioned “Rowena,”  and especially the title track, with its Duane Eddy twangy guitar.  Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of the hard rockin’ blues that Bonamassa has perfected over the years, including “You Better Watch Yourself,” one of six tracks composed by the guitarist for the record.  There’s also a nice effect at the very beginning of the disc, where he cleverly mimics a train starting up on “Slow Train.” Bonamassa is not a household name yet – but with each new album, you get the feeling that big success is just around the corner.  –Tony Peters