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Kenny Kramme of the Joe Bonamassa Band: August 2002


Bluesrockers Review 2002 / Joe Bonamassa - So It's Like That

Joe Bonamassa - So It's Like That

There is some advantage to being both over 50 years old and also a blues/rock music reviewer. I have been privileged in my lifetime to have experienced almost the entire history of the genre which has allowed me to write from both a modern as well as an historical perspective. I have also been blessed to be able to say that I bore witness to the rise (and sometimes fall) of the greatest to have graced the blues/rock stage. Arguably, the three most influential guitarists during this era have been Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and I recall well the early stages of each. Of the three, only Clapton was embraced by any of the critical mainstream from his earliest days as a young Hendrix sought refuge in Europe while young Stevie battled the same "too rock for blues and too blues for rock" crowd as did many then and others until this day.

Not only did the early critics of their day fail to recoginze that these guys were really good, they could have never been convinced that each would someday influence literally thousands of guitarists from all over the world.Today, there are many non-shaving guitar phenoms and former prodigies traveling the highways of planet Earth, each hoping someday to carve for themselves a Clapton/Hendrix/SRV type legacy. While others attention may be focused on those over-hyped artists being pushed by big labels, may I please have your attention and direct you to the true heavyweight of this division- Utica, NY native Joe Bonamassa.

"So It's Like That" is the second solo release from the former prodigy and officially signals his arrival as THE guitar monster in the making. The CD is a 13 track declaration of Bonamassa's already well known instrumental wizardry augmented by his vastly improved vocals and now first rate song writing talents. I cannot overstate the drastic improvement in both his vocals and writing here as compared to his debut release, which was a pretty good recording in its own right. While I would classify this as predominately a modern rock recording, it still contains recognizable blues flavorings. Add talented band mates Eric Czar on bass and Kenny Kramme on drums and my friends, what you have here is an old fashioned battering ram type power trio with a sound that literally explodes in your headphones/speakers. The CD come complete with a great bonus DVD of footage from the band's 2001 US tour in support of their debut release "A New Day Yesterday".

Bonamassa plays a lot of different types of stringed instruments on the set, including a mandolin, which allows for a most unusual and spectacular combination of acoustic and electric sounds. Bonamassa manages to blend the gentle with the ferocious in a way that is, at several points on the set, absolutely brilliant. His fretwork at all times is confident and with purpose, which you can hear even in the sound of the downward stroke of his pick in his rhythm acoustic guitar intros. Bonamassa means business and somehow maintains controlled discipline while playing at times with almost reckless abandon and unbridled fury.

Before the hate mail begins, I am not saying that Bonamassa is the next guitar hero to be, nor am I implying that he is better than "fill in the blank" from the past. I am saying, however, that like those three guys I mentioned earlier, he shows evidence of genius-or, mojo, if your prefer. But, if he can keep his head and not fall prey to the demons of rock, reviewers of the future may someday complete my review with a hearty "I told you so".

"So, It's Like That" is available from most online and retail outlets or through the band's official web site at

The Band: Joe Bonamassa - Acoustic, Electric, and Slide Guitars, Mandolin, Hi String Acoustic Guitar, Electric Baritone Guitar and Vocals

Eric Czar - Electric Bass Guitar, Electric Fretless Bass Guitar

Kenny Kramme - Drums

Tracks:1. My Mistake 2. Lie #1 3. No Slack 4. Unbroken 5. So, It's Like That 6. Waiting For Me 7. Never Say Goodbye 8. Mountain Time 9. Pain and Sorrow 10. Takin' the Hit 11. Under the Radar 12. Sick In Love 13. The Hard Way

2002 Medalist Entertainment
Link: Joe Bonamassa
Article credit - © Bluesrockers 2002
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