A New Day With Joe Bonamassa

Bruce Von Stiers

Joe Bonamassa has been around for a little bit. At 12 years old, he opened for B.B. King. A little later, as a young teen, Joe formed a band with sons of a few famous musicians called Bloodline. About three years after leaving Bloodline, Joe got a record deal and recorded his first album. The album was titled A New Day Yesterday. The album was recorded and released in 2000.

Now, 20 years later, Joe has re-released the album. Well, that's not exactly the truth. The album has been re-tooled a bit and re-mixed. The new edition of the album is titled A New Day Now. It is being released on Joe's label, J & R Adventures.

For the producing and re-mixing of the album, Joe recruited Kevin Shirley. Sometimes called “Caveman”, Shirley has mixed albums by the New York Dolls, Beth Hart and Iron Maiden along with Joe and several other artists.

The producer for the original album was Tom Dowd. He produced and recorded a massive amount of top artists, including Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Eddy Money, Eric Clapton, Chicago and the Allman Brothers Band. For this re-mixing of the album, Dowd's song production was kept intact where possible, or used as a foundation for revamping of certain songs.

The physical copy of the album comes with a booklet that contains production notes from Kevin Shirley. As I'd never heard the original album, I relied on those notes for what was done on the re-mix.

The album starts out with the Rory Gallagher song, Cradle Rock. Even though Joe kept most of the same stride, his guitar was a bit stronger and deeper than the original Gallagher song.

In 1968 the band Free released the song, Walk In My Shadow. It was a rock song with a bit of blues melded into it. Joe took the song and made it a blues tune with a slight rock infusion.

The title track from Joe's original album was A New Day Yesterday. This is a reworking of the Jethro Tull song. This rendition gives a boost to the guitar portion of the song. And the Ian Anderson flute solo in the Jethro Tull song is replaced with a tough guitar solo.

I Know Where I Belong is a song that Joe wrote. It is a great rock blues song with some really tough guitar. The liner notes for the re-mix of the song says that it had 21 guitar tracks. The problem was how to re-mix the song to maintain what Tom Moody had done. I think that the guitar is really good so the re-mix came off as intended.

Miss You, Hate You is a song that Joe co-wrote. It is a song that deals with a love that he should get away from, but just can't let go. The guitar is subtle at times, others really tough. The re-mix for song changed things up bit, using one of Joe's live guitar tracks for a bit of the song. And it seems that Joe hadn't cared much for the backing vocals on the original song. So this new re-mix doesn't have any backing vocals. And Joe recorded new lead vocals for the song as well.

The original Al Kooper version of Nuthin I Wouldn't Do (For A Woman Like You) had a kind of pop rock sound with a lot of harmonica. Joe's rendition has more of a rock / blues tone. On this song, Joe also has a guest performer. Rick Derringer shares some of the vocals on the song and has the first guitar solo.

Another song that Joe wrote was Colour And Shape. It is a really cool rock and blues song. The song has some terrific guitar, with a really tough guitar and drum riff at the end.

For the song Headaches To Heartaches, the re-mix changed things up quite a bit. This was due in part to the multi-tracks from the original recording being missing. They found another take with some of the same arrangements and built the re-mix from there. A new vocal track was recorded along with a couple of new guitar solos. The song has a toe tapping beat and, of course great guitar and vocals.

Trouble Waiting is a smile effecting rocking blues tune.

Warren Haynes of Gov't Mule fame wrote If Heartaches Were Nickels. Joe pretty much kept the structure and vocalization of Haynes' composition for his rendition of the song.

Toe-tapping rocking blues can be found in another song that Joe wrote called Current Situation.

I listened to the Albert King and Otis Rush versions of Don't Burn That Bridge. The two of them had slightly different styling for the song, but basically kept it in the standard blues mode. For Joe's rendition of the song, he emphasized a rock styled blues atmosphere. In other words, the song has a lot of very cool guitar in it.

There are three songs at the end of the album that were added as a bonus. These songs were recorded in 1997, after Joe had left Bloodline, and before he got his first record deal. Joe went into the studio and recorded with Stevie Van Zandt co-writing and producing the songs. The three songs were done in the vein of the current style of rock music played on the radio at that time. So they sound a bit different than you'd expect from Joe. The three bonus songs have never been released before now.

The first of the bonus songs is Mona. It has a rock anthem styling to it.

The second bonus song is I Want You. It has a head bopping tone that definitely would fit as a rock radio hit of the late ‘90's.

The final bonus song on the album is Line Of Denial. Some of the music on the song almost sounds like what you hear at the end of The Eagles song, Those Shoes.

I haven't been fan of Joe Bonamassa for that long, less than a decade, I think. But every album I've heard Joe on, I have enjoyed immensely. That includes albums he's done with artists such as Beth Hart and projects like Black Country Communion, Rock Candy Funk Party and the Sleep Eazys.

This new release is fantastic. As I mentioned earlier, I haven't heard the original album. But the re-mixing of the songs, with new vocals on some and added guitar solos and other touches make this a great way for new fans to get to know Joe's music. And a nice chance for long term fans of Joe's to hear some new touches on some of their early favorite songs.

A New Day Now was released a couple of days ago. It is available on most streaming services and through traditional and online music outlets. You can also order the album through Joe's official web site at https://shop.jbonamassa.com/collections/a-new-day-now

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© 2020 Bruce E Von Stiers