Personalities | Joe Bonamassa | Keeping the Blues Alive | Guitar Heroes

Joe Bonamassa, born in 1977, began playing guitar at the age of four on a small instrument given to him by his father. By the age of seven, he was playing Stevie Ray Vaughan songs on a full-size guitar.

Bonamassa began performing in upstate New York at the age of 10 and was discovered by the blues great B.B. King, who said: ‘This kid’s potential is unbelievable. He’s one of a kind.’ By the age of 12, Bonamassa was touring with King, Buddy Guy, George Thorogood and Robert Cray, among others.

Bonamassa’s influences are British and Irish blues acts. He has cited the three albums that had the biggest influence on his playing: John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton (1966), Rory Gallagher’s Irish Tour ’74 (1974) and Cream’s Goodbye (1969). He also cited Jethro Tull as one of his influences, naming Martin Barre and Mick Abrahams specifically. His first solo album is named for his cover version of ‘A New Day Yesterday’, from Jethro Tull’s Stand Up (1969).

Bonamassa’s recording career began during the early 1990s with the band Bloodline, formed with Berry Oakley, Jr. (son of the original Allman Brothers Band bassist), Waylon Krieger (son of Doors keyboardist Robby Krieger) and Erin Davis (son of jazz great Miles Davis). Bloodline released a single self-titled album of hard-edged blues rock in 1994.

Bonamassa’s 2000 solo debut A New Day Yesterday hit No. 9 on Billboard magazine’s blues chart. He followed with 2002’s So, It’s Like That, which would become his first No. 1 album. He released A New Day Yesterday Live the following year. In 2003, Bonamassa also released Blues Deluxe, a collection of originals and classic blues numbers. Blues Deluxe hit No. 1 on the blues charts, a feat that Bonamassa would accomplish with three of his four following studio albums, as well as 2008’s Live From Nowhere In Particular. Bonamassa has released 15 solo albums in 13 years.

Bonamassa performs around 200 shows worldwide each year. He founded and oversees the non-profit Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation to promote the heritage of the blues to the next generation and to fund music scholarships.

Essential Recordings

Solo: A New Day Yesterday

Solo: So, It’s Like That

Solo: Blues Deluxe

Solo: Live From Nowhere In Particular

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