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Blues of Desperation *

Album: Blues of Desperation *
# Song Title   Time
1)    This Train
2)    Mountain Climbing
3)    Drive
4)    No Good Place for the Lonely
5)    Blues of Desperation
6)    Valley Runs Low, The
7)    You Left Me Nothin' But the Bill and the Blues
8)    Distant Lonesome Train
9)    How Deep This River Runs
10)    Livin' Easy
11)    What I've Known for a Very Long Time
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Joe Bonamassa (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Paulie Cerra (saxophone); Lee Thornburg (trumpet); Reese Wynans (piano, organ); Greg Morrow, Anton Fig (drums, percussion); Mahalia Barnes, Juanita Tippins, Jade McRae (background vocals).
  • Audio Mixer: Kevin Shirley.
  • Recording information: Grand Victor Studios, Nashville, TN.
  • Photographers: Rick Gould; Philippe Klose.
  • Despite its hardscrabble title -- a sentiment mirrored by the deeply etched black & white cover art -- 2016's Blues of Desperation is very much a continuation of the bright, varied blues-rock heard on Different Shades of Blue. On that 2014 album, Joe Bonamassa made a conscious decision to pair with a bunch of Nashville songsmiths to help sharpen his original material, and he brings most of them back for Blues of Desperation, too. The tenor of the tunes is somewhat heavy -- there are lonesome trains, low valleys, no places for the lonely -- and the production also carries a ballast, something that comes into sharp relief on the Zep-flavored title track but can be heard throughout the record. Often, he returns to this revved-up blues -- something that's more appealing when it boogies ("You Left Me Nothin' But the Bill and the Blues") than when it slams ("Distant Lonesome Train") -- and while that anchors the bulk of the record, the moments that linger are the departures. Usually, this arrives in the form of some flirtation with soul -- it's an undercurrent on "No Good Place for the Lonely" but it comes to the surface on the gilded "The Valley Runs Low" -- but the most fun is the vintage New Orleans shuffle of "Livin' Easy," a song that suggests Bonamassa may have surprises in store if he ever decides to shelve his trusty Les Pauls for the course of a full record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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