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Interview:
Joe Bonamass stays busy with the blues -- and rock
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Nobody will accuse Joe Bonamassa of being lazy.



During the past year alone the guitarist, singer and songwriter — who’s been playing professionally since he was 12 — has released his 12th solo album, “Dust Bowl,” a soul covers collaboration with singer Beth Hart called “Don’t Explain” and the second album with the all-star group Black Country Communion, as well as a concert DVD by the band. He also appeared as a guest on new albums by veteran guitar hero Leslie West and Deep Purple keyboardist Don Airey.



“Someone told me I put out just as many records this year as Metallica did in the last decade, so that puts it in some perspective,” Bonamassa, 34, says with a laugh. He adds that the production schedule “is not as bad as people would think,” but he’s gratified to have built a substantial body of work over the years.



“It’s really critical in today’s day and age that if you tour and that’s what you’re doing, it’s important to have new music every 12 to 15 months to come and play,” Bonamassa explains. “The music business is reverting back to taking it directly to the people rather than making a million-dollar album and then sitting back and waiting for the checks to roll in.”



On “Dust Bowl” — which features guest appearances by Vince Gill, John Hiatt and Black Country Communion bandmate Glenn Hughes — Bonamassa says he wanted to take a different approach to the blues, one that was more song-focused than is the norm in the genre.



“Blues gets a bad rap, and half of it’s self-inflicted,” Bonamassa notes. “I really wanted to try to tell a story rather than two verses about ‘my baby left me’ for the umpteenth time and singing then ripping off a 20-minute guitar solo to come back and play another verse. I wanted to tell some other stories, which I think we need.”



Joe Bonamassa performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $59-$85. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.



Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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