You & Me review by Joe Bonamassa

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  • Released: Jun 6, 2006
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (23 votes)
Joe Bonamassa: You & Me

Sound — 10
Joe Bonamassa started playing guitar at the age of four. Being charmed by the seductive sound of Stratocaster as he confesses, at the age of 12 he was already collecting high references from blues legends, such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Robert Cray. No wonder shortly after he began releasing albums full of passionate blues and rock-n-roll anthems. A new album by Bonamassa, titled in a very simple and romantic way You and Me is, as the artist himself calls it, heavy music played in a blues style. The production was confided to legendary producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Black Crowes). Working on the record both the artist and the producer used the inspiration from Peter Green, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker.

With all his respect to the teachers, Bonamassa starts the CD with a cover of Charley Patton's High Water Everywhere. Being afraid to appear on the lower level than his idols, the musician is too careful presenting his own songwriting. The album is mostly songs, written by other musicians and covered by Bonamassa the way he sees them, and only 4 tracks are written or co-written by him.

The cover songs are impudently interpreted by Joe in his own personal style, not aiming to copy or even catch the atmosphere of the original. Now there are a lot of sliding guitars and groovy tunes in them. Among blues there's the only rock-n-roll track, paying the tribute to Chuck Berry -- full of joy I Don't Believe. You can't stop your foot tapping by it even during busy guitar and classic piano solos. Tamp Em Up Solid, borrowed from Ryland Cooder, is a peaceful country-ish ballad done by only two guitars and a voice full of sorrow. The song is only two and a half minutes and it's last chord is in the beginning of the next track -- Gypsy jazz Django. It's an instrumental track, kind of meditative and it paints beautiful pictures in your mind as you listen to it. Bonamassa managed to even make Led Zeppelin's Tea For One sound blues. This one features a guest vocalist -- Doug Henthorn that swings, scratches and nails the song.

Lyrics — 9
It can be one of the following 00 either Bonamassa was born with a voice just right for the blues or he soaked it in listening to the blues classics from the childhood. There's even that smoky feel in the vocals peculiar to old blues man (as they got their heights being far not young). Either way, his voice expresses the mood of the song very carefully. It fuses with the music so organic that not paying much attention to it, you often don't divide the instrumental parts and the vocals.

Overall Impression — 10
Being the youngest member of The Blues Foundation committee board, Joe Bonamassa has certainly achieved a lot for his age. One of the most important -- he has a distinctive style, which for many musicians take years to find. Each song is personal and beautiful in it's own way and each one shows the artist from a different side. Each evokes different memories in your head -- like heartfelt Asking Around For You, co-written by Bonamassa and Mike Himelstein. The track pictures the scenes of a beautiful lady in a long dress, sitting in a bar and a musician, playing and singing for her. In fact it was written as a tribute to the artist's friends, as obvious from the lyrics. All songs on You & Me have a huge sexual energy, as well as the depth Joe filled them with. The record has a live vibe and to multiply that atmosphere some tracks even have conversations on the background in the beginning.

For the professionals among us there's a list of guitars and amps, played by Mr. Bonamassa (among which is Gigliotti JB Telecaster) in the CD booklet. Though Bonamassa's records would never be too popular, they would easily become the favorite albums in the sophisticated listeners' CD collections. For those of you, dreaming to sell your souls for becoming guitar Gods, You & Me by Joe Bonamassa is a must.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    My guitar teacher even sadi good things about this guy, and he usually dosen;t say things like that for new guitarists. He even reccomended to go see him somewhere, and I might go.
    Its definately NOT his best work but one thing is for sure all of his albums have a diffrent sound to each. Always changing...This time not for the best but there are a couple of songs that live up to privious works...Tracks 3,4,8 sound like the Joe of old ...
    Joe is not new to the music scene. This is his fith studio album, Plus he was touring with BB King at the age of 12. He is Awesome, to say the least. You need to see him live to see perfection.
    CFlydn9 wrote: My guitar teacher even sadi good things about this guy, and he usually dosen;t say things like that for new guitarists. He even reccomended to go see him somewhere, and I might go.
    yea, Joe definitely isn't new. It's a decent album, not his best, but still pretty damn good.
    i saw him live, best ****ings how ever. this dude is amazing at singing and playing the guitar. i dont have the album but i might have to get it. people, if you havent heard this guy, go listen to him, you wont be dissapointed.
    definitely not his best. The first two tracks show a lot of promise and Tea For One is a magnificent cover, but the rest of the album doesn`t do it for me. For Joes best work to date, try and get hold of the "New Day Yesterday Live" DVD which came free with early editions of "So It`s Like That". This includes a blistering "New Day Yesterday" in which he knocks out some pentatonic scales at about 200mph; Also my personal favourite on the DVD, "Are You Experienced?"
    I own all 6 Bonamassa CD's. There is something really fresh and different about "You and Me" and I think it's an excellent expression of heavy blues. Joe's voice has really taken on a life of it's own since he started out and he's become much more expressive, which tells me this guy hasn't even peaked with all his potential talent yet! My top 4 favorite tracks would be: Bridge to Better Days, Asking Around For You, So Many Roads and Your Funeral, My Trial. Some of the songs grew on me after I listened a few times, that was a new experience for me with a Bonamassa CD. There are 2 instrumental numbers which are sweet and the sound mix is superb on this album. The cover of Zep's "Tea For One" is very well done and not significantly changed or improved upon like other covers Bonamassa has become known for. Overall if you like more rock than blues, Joe's first 2 CD's fit the bill-"A New Day Yesterday" and "So, It's Like That". Me, I have to have the whole collection, because Joe Bonamassa is my favorite, newer and incredibly diverse guitar hero. My other lifelong favorites: Hendrix, Clapton, Page and Stevie Ray Vaughn. I'm also a huge Beatles fan. By the way about the title- "You" represents the fans and "Me" represents Joe. Joe is a very humble guy who is devoted to his fans. The origin of the cover traces back to a photo taken by a fan. If you have an opportunity to see Joe live, do it and keep your eyes glued to his fingers and hands, it's an amazing experience! Joe always meets up with fans afterwards and autographs tickets,CD's, etc. I hope his increasing popularity doesn't end this routine after a show. At our first concert, we brought our 3 guitar playing teens and they all shook Joe's hand and their dad told them, "This is the closest you'll ever get to meeting the next Jimi Hendrix".