At the ripe old age of 7, Joe Bonamassa could play note-by-note guitar solos from classic rock artists such as Jethro Tull and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
He was just 12 years old when he opened a show for the legendary B. B. King.
Two years later he landed a major-label contract and recorded an album with his first band Bloodline, a group that included the sons of Berry Oakley (Allman Brothers), Robbie Krieger (Doors) and Miles Davis.
Since then, Bonamassa has shared stages with Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Gregg Allman, Joe Cocker and Steve Winwood.
Yes, he is a true musician in every sense of the word. Passion for his craft just oozes out of every note he plays and sings.
As he approaches his first 25 years in the rock and blues wars, the 36-year-old Bonamassa can boast five consecutive “Best Blues Guitarist” and one “Best Overall Guitarist” Awards from Guitar Player Magazine. Those are mighty high accolades for the New York native.
RINGING THE BLUES AT THE BELL DEPT. It was seven long months ago when it was announced that Bonamassa was coming to Augusta. I cannot remember being more surprised about an artist being booked in Augusta since Clapton visited our fair city way back in the 1980s!
Bonamassa and his band will perform at Bell Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $71-$127 and can be purchased online at georgialinatix.com or by phone 1-877-4AUGTIX.
FROM VIENNA TO AUGUSTA DEPT. The singer-guitarist is touring in support of his superb new live CD/DVD An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House as well as his eighth (and former No. 1) blues album Driving Towards the Daylight.
Bonamassa has recorded 10 studio albums and a half-dozen live releases and DVDs in the past 13 years. However, like the aforementioned B. B. King, he’s much more comfortable on stage, which explains why he plays some 200 shows each year. Yes, like Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band, he’s a true road warrior.
He doesn’t always live in the blues world either, as Bonamassa’s side projects with soul singer Beth Hart, Black Country Communion and the neo-funk/jazz combo Rock Candy Funk Party illustrate. The guy is extremely comfortable and capable in most any style of music.
It’s a rare event indeed when an artist of Bonamassa’s caliber performs in Augusta. He is one of the great guitar players of his generation and deserves a large turnout from locals at the Bell. After all, any guitarist whose major influences include Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Peter Green and the late Gary Moore must be something very special … and he is.
On Nov. 20, be prepared to be blown away in what should be one of the top concerts in Augusta in this or any year. Be there!