Twenty years since the release of his best-selling album ‘Blues Deluxe,’ which celebrated what the US government had declared “the year of the blues” with a mix of originals and reinterpretations of classic songs, superstar Joe Bonamassa is taking stock of how far he and the genre have come with Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, out October 6th via J&R Adventures. Featuring two new originals and eight new covers spanning some of the most important names in the blues – from Bobby “Blue” Bland and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac to Albert King – Blues Deluxe 2 finds Bonamassa returning to his roots and giving new life to the classic tracks that have informed his own artistry.
“If you had told me 20 years ago my career would last long enough to see the 20th anniversary of this little record called ‘Blues Deluxe,’ I’m sure I would have laughed,” Bonamassa reflects. “Blues Deluxe was my last shot after being dropped by two major record labels and my booking agent. It was then that my manager, Roy Weisman, had his first ‘all in’ moment. We would go back into the studio and record. A record that would hopefully define the direction of whatever future career I might have.”
“On Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, I asked my great friend Josh Smith to produce a record to be a companion to the anniversary edition of the first album, and hopefully demonstrate a bit of how I have progressed over the last 20 years,” Bonamassa adds. “The contrast between a cocky 26-year-old and an established 46-year-old is considerable. Does the fire still burn like it did? Am I still playing hungry? Am I even good enough to pay tribute to my heroes all over again? The answer lies somewhere in this album.”
“When Joe asked me to produce Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, I knew immediately what I wanted to accomplish,” adds Smith. “I wanted the fans to hear the completely natural, relaxed Joe that I hear when we are just goofing around playing guitars. He really was in the moment and feeling completely supported and I know that he really ‘went for it’ on everything.”
To mark the announcement, Bonamassa has released the album’s latest single “Twenty-Four Hour Blues,” a blistering reinterpretation of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s classic track, featured on one of Bonamassa’s favorite albums of all time, Dreamer. The new version features one of Bonamassa’s best-ever vocals and guitar solos. “The outro guitar solo is incredible,” Smith comments. “It happened live on the floor and has some deep lines you've probably never heard Joe play before. The band is absolutely smoking, and Calvin Turner did an incredible String and Horn arrangement. Super proud of this one.”
“Part of my approach to these new recordings was that I wanted to see if I had matured musically over the years, and if I had gotten better as a player,” Bonamassa says. “I’m happy to say that I am a much better singer than I was 20 years ago - though I still don’t really consider myself to be a legit ‘singer,’ I can now carry a tune a little better than I could back then.”
The announcement of Blues Deluxe, Vol. 2 follows the release of the album’s lead single “I Want To Shout About It,” originally performed by Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. Bonamassa’s joyful version features solos from Reese Wynans on organ and Paulie Cerra on sax, as well as some killer adlibs from vocalists Dannielle DeAndrea and Charles Jones as the track winds to a close. “Shout About It is a song originally by the great Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters with Darrel Nullisch on vocals,” Smith adds. “It's a tough/high song to sing and Joe really pushed himself and nailed it. It's a real rave up, a party song. Joe has been playing it live lately and the crowds are really digging it!”
Featuring Reese Wynans (keys), Calvin Turner (bass), Lamar Carter (drums), Kirk Fletcher (guitar), and Smith (guitar), additional highlights from Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 include Guitar Slim’s “Well, I Done Got Over It,” Bobby Parker’s “It’s Hard But It’s Fair,” and “Is It Safe To Go Home,” a new track written for Joe by Josh Smith. “I knew I wanted to push him really hard vocally,” Smith adds. “I'd heard him sing things just messing around or when we'd be producing for other artists that I'd never heard him do on record. So the songs were both chosen and written with that in mind. If you listen to the vocals on "Twenty-Four Hour Blues" and "Is It Safe To Go Home,” you'll hear Joe really going for it.”
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