It would be hard for Joe Bonamassa to top 2010. Not only did the 33-year-old guitar virtuoso top the Billboard Blues Chart (and crack the Top 40 on the Billboard Top 200) with his album, Black Rock, but he also joined forces with Deep Purple/Black Sabbath vet Glenn Hughes, Led Zeppelin legacy member Jason Bonham and Dream Theater’s Derek Sherinian to form the supergroup Black Country Communion. Along the way, Bonamassa’s fiery fretwork garnered him much-deserved accolades, including Billboard’s #1 Blues Artist and Guitar Player magazine Readers’ Poll Awards for Best Overall Guitarist and Best Blues Guitarist (his fourth such victory in the latter category).
As unbelievable as it sounds, 2011 may actually be a bigger year for the Utica, New York, native. Already deep into a tour that will take him to the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Japan, China and Australia, Bonamassa has his eyes set on a March 22 release date for his new album, Dust Bowl. The album, produced by longtime collaborator Kevin Shirley (Iron Maiden, Rush), features guest appearances by Hughes, Vince Gill and John Hiatt. Swaying gracefully between searing blues, heavy rock and boot-stompin’ country, the album further cements Bonamassa’s status as one of the preeminent guitar heroes of the past decade.
“This is the best album we’ve ever done,” Bonamassa said. “I’m finding more inspiration in storytelling in my 30s, in writing songs that are about something more profound than ‘my baby left me.’ I like albums that are made with the right intentions and sound organic and a little rough around the edges, like a great band playing live in the room, and that’s what we accomplished with Dust Bowl.”
Things don’t look to slow down for Bonamassa, either. Black Country Communion is reportedly planning to release a second album this summer, with a much-anticipated tour to follow. If you think that might be a bit too much work for one man, well, to quote the howling blues stomp on the new album, “You better watch yourself!”