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Sloe Gin

4.5 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Sloe Gin
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Audio CD, January 11, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Voted by Guitar Player readers as 2007's Best Blues Guitarist, blues-rock guitar virtuoso, vocalist, and songwriter JOE BONAMASSA is set to release his seventh solo album, SLOE GIN, on August 21, 2007. Bonamassa's fourth release, the disc re-teams him with producer Kevin Shirley (Joe Satriani, Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Led Leppelin), who produced 2006's YOU & ME, which debuted at #1 on Billboard's Blues Chart in June of last year.

SLOE GIN effortlessly ranges through heavy blues and acoustic numbers alike, a textured flow that Bonamassa says was in part inspired by Rod Stewart's legendary 1969 debut solo LP. In the liner notes, Joe adds, "I sequenced the album as a throwback to the side A/side B set-up of vinyl records...listening to an album as a whole is a lost pastime. i wanted to bring that experience back around.

Renowned for this fluid phrasing and post-modern fusion of traditional roots blues with rock and roll guts, Bonamassa began playing guitar at age four, and toured with blues icon B.B. King when he was twelve. Recently, Joe was named Best Blues Guitarist in Guitar Magazine's 2007 Reader's Choice Awards. He is also the youngest member of the Memphis, TN-based Blues Foundation's Board of Directors, and a spokesperson for their respected Blues in the Schools Program.

In the liner notes of Sloe Gin, emerging guitar great Joe Bonamassa explains that one of his objectives is to experiment with acoustic elements he first encountered while listening to Rod Stewart's earliest work. "I think the heavy blues and acoustic mix well together," he writes, and the inviting variety of the disc's 11 tracks--from the rousing electric rave-up of the title track to the closing, tabla-propelled acoustic instrumental--persuasively underscores his point. Bonamassa is a major talent with a growing following, and as his fan base inevitably expands it may become difficult for him to keep everyone happy. Hardcore blues devotees no doubt will yearn for Bonamassa to stay perpetually plugged in, but in the long term that would be a disservice to his broad range of skills. Bonamassa rocks formidably and convincingly on "Dirt in My Pocket" (a bristling original composition), the title track (well suited for air guitar), and his Claptonesque rendering of John Mayall's "Another Kind of Love." Yet his softer works suggest that he sounds a little more comfortable and natural--vocally, at least--on the acoustic tracks. His retooled version of "Around the Bend" (his first take on this original composition is found on an earlier release) is an engaging, pastoral gem, and his paean to his upstate New York home ("Richmond") is perhaps this disc's most memorable selection. Bonamassa knows the blues (at the time of this release, he was the youngest member on the board of the Blues Foundation), but he also knows how to rock and how to sagaciously, artfully ease off the gas. --Terry Wood
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 11, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: J&R Adventures
  • ASIN: B000SO7IX0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,521 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Joe Bonamasso has mastered the guitar like few blues and rock players have. His sound has tastes of Led Zepplin, Bad Company and many other great 70's bands. But more than that he has surpassed the style and built his own.
His music talks to the heart because that's where he's playing from.
If you like Allman Bros, or southern Rock and blues in general, then this is highly recommended.
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If you've heard about Joe Bonamassa and are wondering what all of the excitement is about, this is probably not the best place to start. This seems to be the fist release in Joe's catalog to create dissent amongst his fan base. It's not bad. It's just not great.

Joe is one of the most passionate an inspired artists to come along in years. He is a true gem for fans of blues rock. A unique and powerful vocalist with an astonishing command of his guitar. Anyone who has seen him live can attest, his explosive musicianship is jaw-dropping. As a performer Joe is humble, passionate, uncompromising, unapologetic and sincere. On his worst night he will stop you dead in your tracks and command your attention. At his best he's downright hypnotizing.

This CD doesn't come close to capturing that experience. It IS very well crafted. The performances are soulful and nuanced. The production values are impeccable. There are some nice moments. It's also rather boring, calculated, self-conscious and restrained. This is Joe's second collaboration with producer Kevin Shirley. Many of his fans are hoping it's his last. Though they wouldn't dare speak of it on the official fan forum. Just look at some of the defensive comments posted here on amazon to get an idea of the zealotry.

After hearing all of Joe's previous releases for the first time I simply couldn't wait to hear them again. I've forced myself to listen to Sloe Gin many times in an effort to identify what's missing. What's missing is the excitement of Joe as a performer. The excitement that earned him his reputation and grass-roots, word-of-mouth fan base. I hope and expect this is just a transition. And I can't wait to see him again live. I know it will be better than this disc.

If you are just getting started with Joe try Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today or any of his live releases (DVDs). As for Sloe Gin?... The best I can say is that it doesn't suck.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've held off making comments about this new work so I could have time to just listen to it. The past few days I've immersed myself in this album. I call it an "album" because calling it a "CD" just doesn't seem right. I purposely ordered extra copies of "Sloe Gin" so I would have a copy for at least my car and home. I also brought one to work and for the most part, since last Saturday, I've listened pretty much only to this album. I won't review it song by song, but here is how I feel about this work......

The first time I listened to this album was last Saturday and upon listening to it one time alone, I rejoined my family, looked at my wife and said, "This is a great work of art, it's not just music!" The musical blending of this album is extraordinary. For example, it starts off with two monster songs with "Ball Peen Hammer" and "One of These Days", but to then go directly to "Seagull" would have been quite a change. So what did Joe and Kevin Shirley do? Towards the end of "One of These Days" the song changes and we're eased into "Seagull." On "Ball Peen Hammer", I personally would have liked to have heard an actual ball peen hammer hitting some metal or something else to the beat of that song. I wonder if anyone had thought of that? I know, I'm a little a strange and maybe that would have been too gimmicky.

Joe's vocal power and range is better on this album than any of his past works. That, matched with his stellar use of different guitars on many songs, provides us with a constant feel of musical flow. I liked the idea of some strings being added to certain songs. It provides extra depth to the songs that they're used on. Rick Melick's piano/organ playing also adds an extra texture to many of the songs and is highlighted at the beginning of the song "Sloe Gin.
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Format: Audio CD
It's Sloe all right. Kinda the way Eric Clapton went from Slow Hand to Slow Blues to just, plain Slow/Easy Listening. I'm so sorry to say that I find this collection of tunes to be boring to the point that I would never recommend it to anyone I was trying to introduce to the Smokin' Joe who can tear up the joint.

JB is at a point where he has to decide if he's going to follow in SRV's footsteps or John Mayer's babysteps or just sell out completely and play Soft Hits All The Time. It's not easy to be in that position. I know the drill for this album: a slight, painful voice inflection, a little sly touch here and there, a mystical note in the background and a mournful lament...but none of that saves this CD for me.

Almost all of his fans agree that the sounds and boldness of his earlier albums were what attracted them to Joe B. I don't understand why they say, almost unamimously, that SILT or ANDY or HTCT or Blues Deluxe were their favorites, but they keep encouraging this Slow Down of what we consider a genius.

His most rabid fans are hoping for some kind of all-rewarding SuperStardom for this incredibly talented player. If he can put out something this "beige" and seemingly lifeless and his fans still buy it up, isn't that a sign of true Superstardom? We'll buy anything and everything from this musician.

The group of fans who give 5 stars to everything the guy does aren't helping him find himself. It must be a terribly lonely path to have people all around you incapable of critical thought and honest feedback.

Where'd you go, Smokin' Joe? Where can you go from here?
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