JOE BONAMASSA on how his career nearly ENDED with Blues Deluxe & not compromising for Vol 2 | INTERVIEW

Published 6 months ago on November 1, 2023

By Jonathan Graham

JOE BONAMASSA on how his career nearly ENDED with Blues Deluxe & not compromising for Vol 2 | INTERVIEW

The wait is over; Joe Bonamassa's latest solo studio album, ' Blues Deluxe Vol. 2' is here! A testament to his musical credentials and a toast to his longtime fans—‘ Blues Deluxe Vol. 2' was two decades in the making—a raw and vital flavour, combined with a resolute skill that can only be gained through years of perseverance and an unyielding dedication to his craft. The blues-rock titan chats with Guitar Interactive Magazine's Jonathan Graham to discuss the brand new record in this issue's cover feature. As usual, Joe has some fantastic stories of rare guitar finds, recording and performing all over the world, and so much more.

Blues-rock superstar Joe Bonamassa is one of the most celebrated performing musicians of today. As a three-time GRAMMY-nominated artist and 13x Blues Music Award Nominee (4 wins), he achieved his 26th No. 1 album on the Billboard Blues Chart with Tales Of Time, a sprawling and expansive live concert film and album, shot at the breathtaking Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado in August 2022. Only in his mid-40s, Bonamassa has become a living legend with an astounding multi-genre catalog. He has released more than 40 albums, including studio and live recordings, as well as collaborative albums with his adventurous side projects: Black Country Communion and Rock Candy Funk Party. 


Twenty years since the release of his best-selling album ‘Blues Deluxe,’ which celebrated what the US government had declared “the year of the blues” with a mix of originals and reinterpretations of classic songs, superstar Joe Bonamassa is taking stock of how far he and the genre have come with Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, out now via J&R Adventures. Featuring two new originals and eight new covers spanning some of the most important names in the blues – from Bobby “Blue” Bland and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac to Albert King – Blues Deluxe 2 finds Bonamassa returning to his roots and giving new life to the classic tracks that have informed his own artistry. 


“If you had told me 20 years ago my career would last long enough to see the 20th anniversary of this little record called ‘Blues Deluxe,’ I’m sure I would have laughed,” Bonamassa reflects. “Blues Deluxe was my last shot after being dropped by two major record labels and my booking agent. It was then that my manager, Roy Weisman, had his first ‘all in’ moment. We would go back into the studio and record. A record that would hopefully define the direction of whatever future career I might have.”


“On Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, I asked my great friend Josh Smith to produce a record to be a companion to the anniversary edition of the first album, and hopefully demonstrate a bit of how I have progressed over the last 20 years,” Bonamassa adds. “The contrast between a cocky 26-year-old and an established 46-year-old is considerable. Does the fire still burn like it did? Am I still playing hungry? Am I even good enough to pay tribute to my heroes all over again? The answer lies somewhere in this album.”


“When Joe asked me to produce Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, I knew immediately what I wanted to accomplish,” adds Smith. “I wanted the fans to hear the completely natural, relaxed Joe that I hear when we are just goofing around playing guitars. He really was in the moment and feeling completely supported and I know that he really ‘went for it’ on everything.”


Joe Bonamassa Blues Deluxe Vol 2To mark the announcement, Bonamassa has released the album’s latest single “Twenty-Four Hour Blues,” a blistering reinterpretation of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s classic track, featured on one of Bonamassa’s favorite albums of all time, Dreamer. The new version features one of Bonamassa’s best-ever vocals and guitar solos. “The outro guitar solo is incredible,” Smith comments. “It happened live on the floor and has some deep lines you've probably never heard Joe play before. The band is absolutely smoking, and Calvin Turner did an incredible String and Horn arrangement. Super proud of this one.” Watch the official Music video for “Twenty-Four Hour Blues” NOW


“Part of my approach to these new recordings was that I wanted to see if I had matured musically over the years, and if I had gotten better as a player,” Bonamassa says. “I’m happy to say that I am a much better singer than I was 20 years ago - though I still don’t really consider myself to be a legit ‘singer,’ I can now carry a tune a little better than I could back then.”



The announcement of Blues Deluxe, Vol. 2 follows the release of the album’s lead single “I Want To Shout About It,” originally performed by Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. Bonamassa’s joyful version features solos from Reese Wynans on organ and Paulie Cerra on sax, as well as some killer adlibs from vocalists Dannielle DeAndrea and Charles Jones as the track winds to a close. “Shout About It is a song originally by the great Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters with Darrel Nullisch on vocals,” Smith adds. “It's a tough/high song to sing and Joe really pushed himself and nailed it. It's a real rave up, a party song. Joe has been playing it live lately and the crowds are really digging it!”


Featuring Reese Wynans (keys), Calvin Turner (bass), Lamar Carter (drums), Kirk Fletcher (guitar), and Smith (guitar), additional highlights from Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 include Guitar Slim’s “Well, I Done Got Over It,” Bobby Parker’s “It’s Hard But It’s Fair,” and “Is It Safe To Go Home,” a new track written for Joe by Josh Smith. “I knew I wanted to push him really hard vocally,” Smith adds. “I'd heard him sing things just messing around or when we'd be producing for other artists that I'd never heard him do on record. So the songs were both chosen and written with that in mind. If you listen to the vocals on "Twenty-Four Hour Blues" and "Is It Safe To Go Home,” you'll hear Joe really going for it.”



Joe Bonamassa Blues Deluxe Vol 2Joe Bonamassa - Blues Deluxe Vol. 2, is out now via J&R Adventures


Blues Deluxe Vol. 2 by Joe Bonamassa Tracklist 

 1) Twenty-Four Hour Blues (originally performed by Bobby “Blue” Bland)

 2) It’s Hard But It’s Fair (originally performed by Bobby Parker)

 3) Well, I Done Got Over It  (originally performed by Guitar Slim)

 4) I Want to Shout About It (originally performed by Ronnie Earle & The Broadcasters)

 5) Win-O   (originally performed by Pee Wee Crayton) 

 6) Hope You Realize It (Goodbye Again)  *original song written by Joe Bonamassa & Tom Hambridge

 7) Lazy Poker Blues (originally performed by Fleetwood Mac)

 8) You Sure Drive a Hard Bargain  (originally performed by Albert King)

 9) The Truth Hurts Feat Kirk Fletcher and Josh Smith (originally performed by Kenny Neal)

 10) Is It Safe To Go Home  *original song written by Josh Smith



Backed by a stellar band of legendary musicians, Joe Bonamassa will once again hit the road in support of Blues Deluxe Vol.2—the set list for these shows will feature new songs alongside career-spanning favourites.



Fall U.S. Tour

October 23 – Memphis, TN – The Cannon Center                                                   

October 25 – Shreveport, LA – Shreveport Municipal Auditorium

October 27 – San Antonio, TX – Majestic Theatre                                          

October 28 – Sugar Land, TX – Smart Financial Centre At Sugar Land

October 29 – Austin, TX – ACL Live 

November 1 – Fayetteville, AR – Walton Arts Center                                                 

November 3 – Little Rock, AR – Robinson Performance Hall                               

November 4 – Grand Prairie, TX – Texas Trust CU Theatre 

November 5 – Oklahoma City, OK – Civic Center Music Hall

November 8 – Tulsa, OK – Tulsa Theater 

November 10 – Kansas City, MO – The Midland Theatre 

November 11 – St. Louis, MO – The Fabulous Fox 

November 12 – Cedar Rapids, IA – Paramount Theatre 

November 14 – Rochester, MN – Mayo Civic Center                                                      

November 15 – Rockford, IL – Coronado Performing Arts Center 

November 17 – Fort Wayne, IN – Embassy Theatre 

November 18 – Detroit, MI – Fox Theatre

November 19 – Columbus, OH – Palace Theatre

November 21 – Reading, PA – The Santander Performing Arts Center 

November 22 – Providence, RI – Providence Performance Arts Center

November 24 – Springfield, MA – Symphony Hall

November 25 – Baltimore, MD – The Lyric

November 28 – Savannah, GA – Johnny Mercer Theatre

November 30 – Sarasota, FL – Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall 

December 1 – Estero, FL – Hertz Arena

December 2 – Hollywood, FL – Hard Rock Live


Joe Bonamassa Blues Deluxe Vol 2The award-winning blues rock guitarist and singer songwriter, is also pleased to announce two UK exclusive concerts at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday 4 April and Friday 5 April 2024.


Tickets are on sale now at www.jbonamassa.com/tour-dates and www.gigantic.com.


The Royal Albert Hall shows celebrate the 15th anniversary since Joe first played the Royal Albert Hall in May 2009; a momentous concert which changed Joe’s career overnight. The first time Joe played the Royal Albert Hall, he was joined onstage by Eric Clapton. From there, the rest is history.


“The Royal Albert Hall is a special venue for me personally,” Joe. It’s the first venue that literally changed my career overnight. I always look forward to playing the venue because, not only is it a beautiful venue, but the staff are amazing, and the audiences are second to none. It’s always an emotional experience whenever I play the RAH.”


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