This being his 11th solo album of blues-rock in just 14 years, Joe Bonamassa could be forgiven for running out of new ways to express his prodigious guitar talents on record. Thankfully, Different Shades of Blue finds the 37 year-old American axe-slinger on top form and showing once again why he’s one of the hottest six-string shredders in the world today. This is the Grammy nominee’s first album to feature all original material; a significant step for a blues-rock purist. Not that the influences aren’t as glaringly obvious as usual; the hands of Clapton, Page and Rory Gallagher are all over this record, and that can only ever be a good thing. At the top of the pile for rock riffage is second track ‘Oh Beautiful!’, which rivals anything found on Led Zeppelin II, while ‘Heartache Follows Wherever I Go’ brings the melancholic blues and there’s even a Queen-esque ballad to keep things varied with ‘Never Give All Your Heart’. Bonamassa is often labelled as Eric Clapton’s natural successor, although Clapton himself probably wouldn’t take kindly to that, given he’s still putting out records himself. In saying that, it’s a fitting sentiment, and this record will only serve to reinforce it.
For The Brag