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Guitar Wizard

Dicembre 2006
Scoperto da B. B. King e subito gettato nell’arena dei concerti live a 12 anni, Joe Bonamassa è diventato un grande del blues in pochi anni. You & Me è la sua ultima fatica.

di Mark Worden

File audio:

Joe Bonamassa
Joe Bonamassa

Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

Even though he isn’t yet 30, rock and bluesman Joe Bonamassa is one of the most respected guitarists around. BluesWax Magazine voted him “Blues Artist of the Year” two years in a row, while he was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation. Bonamassa grew up in Ithaca, New York and first picked up a guitar at the age of 4, which wasn’t surprising, seeing as his father owned a guitar shop. But, as he explained when he met with Speak Up, his first break came at the age of 12:

Joe Bonamassa (Standard American accent):

I was discovered by B.B. King when I was 12 and I was his opening act and I think his tour manager said, “Hey, I think your opening act tonight is a 12-year-old kid!” So he came out and saw me and he invited me on a tour that summer and... and he really is the reason why I’m sitting here. I mean, without B.B. King and a few other people, you know, I wouldn’t have gotten the big break that I got, you know, back at that age and I wouldn’t have had the career I’ve had, so it’s like I really do owe him6...  when I try to pass that same kind of open-door, giving kind of mentality down to like my opening acts, if they’re good, and...and I try to help as many people I can because I was helped by like the best.

the relevance of the blues

And yet Joe Bonamassa is no traditionalist, as is evident from his latest album, You & Me, which was released on the Provogue label and distributed by Edel. In addition to Bonamassa’s own compositions, this 12-track set contains covers of songs by blues legends like Charley Patton and Sonny Boy Williamson, but there’s also one of a song by Led Zeppelin. For Bonamassa, there’s a connection:

Joe Bonamassa:

I can trace the origins of hip-hop and heavy metal, rock’n’roll: all the music that’s on the radio today can be linked with the blues. You start with Robert Johnson, who influenced Muddy Waters, who influenced Eric Clapton, who influenced Jimmy Page, who made the first, quote unquote, “heavy metal record,” which kind of influenced Black Sabbath, who kind of influenced Metallica, who kind of influenced System of A Down. Boom! Then you go, you know, Muddy Waters to B.B. King to James Brown to Sly Stone to like The Commodores, the Funkadelic, to Dr. Dre, to 50 Cent, to Boom! Blues.  All of this stuff you could trace back. I think it’s the most relevant music that we have, as far being the grandfather, or the great-grandfather, of what we listen to today, but I think, as far as it being an art form today, I think the art in it is slowly kind of dissipating, which is... what I’m trying to do, is remind people that you can still do something relevant with it, you know, and I think guys like John Mayer are good ‘cause he’s trying to revitalise it, and there’s Derek Trucks and Government Mule and all this stuff that’s doing blues-based rock stuff that’s still blues, but it’s, you know, outside the box, and trying to keep it in the media, which is the fans going, “Hey, there’s something new and exciting here.”


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Glossary

in a row - di fila.

board of directors - consiglio d’amministrazione.     

seeing as - poichè.

break - opportunità.

his opening act - l’artista “supporter”.

I really do owe him - gli devo davvero parecchio.

I try to pass... down - cerco di trasmettere la stessa mentalità aperta e generosa.

linked - collegata.

quote unquote - tra virgolette.

all of this stuff you can trace back - tutta que-sta roba si può far risalire (al blues).

outside the box - fuori dalle convenzioni.