Joe Bonamassa - Sloe Gin Album Review
The 'problem' with being a rather remarkable blues guitarist is the bits between the solos, especially if you're keen on originals rather than covers. At some point, you're going to have to write songs. You also tend to end up singing. Joe Bonamassa is one of the new blues legends, and like Gary Moore, his guitar playing is incredible, his singing voice only 'good'.
Bonamassa is like a Stars In Their Eyes' David Coverdale on vocals. But it's not the hindrance it could be - his playing (especially his slide) is fluid and beautiful. Sloe Gin sees Bonamassa add a good dose of acoustic guitar, and rock, to his blues. Opener Ball Peen Hammer is like a Chris Whitley song in its bottleneck attack, and it sets the pattern for a few others on the album - acoustic riffing leading to anthemic choruses and a great solo thrown in for good measure, like some 80s Sammy Hagar Van Halen album.
What elevates all of this is that guitar - even more so on the iTunes download of a recent concert at Shepherd's Bush, where the songs don't really get in the way of the solos. Without it, this would only be an album of good rock; with it, there are a few moments of magic.