Being an independent artist comes with its own set of challenges. For Joe Bonamassa, not being on a major record label hasn’t been a hindrance to his career.
“I’ve sold millions of records and never been on a late-night television show as a featured musical guest. I’ve always been asked to sit with the band, which is fine, but I’ve sold millions of albums. I have millions of followers. There’s a disconnect somewhere... Do you crawl under a rock and cry yourself to sleep or do you find another avenue to reach people? That’s what we did,” Bonamassa says.
The blues guitarist and singer has been operating the label J&R Adventures, which he started with his longtime manager Roy Weisman, and building a strong fanbase by using social media and other methods to reach audiences.
He released his most recent album, Redemption, in September 2018, and is continuing to incorporate new genres into his music. It gives a glimpse into the artist’s life through his music. He has been influenced by different styles of musicians.
“I like everything. I don’t just listen to blues. I listen to heavy rock. I listen to Americana. I’m a big Bruce Hornsby fan,” Bonamassa says.
Bonamassa started playing music at a young age, trading licks with B.B. King at the age of 12. He has gone on to establish himself as one of the premier guitar players in blues music. Bonamassa has watched and worked with legends like Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Stephen Stills. He appreciates artists who possess a quiet confidence.
“They have a special gift. They know they have a real talent for music. But they are humble, yet they are confident. They are confident that when they get on stage, they’re going to do something that people are going to react to. I always watch those kind of people and learn from them because, at the end of the day, people respond to confidence, and people respond to conviction,” Bonamassa says.
Known more for his licks than his voice, Bonamassa has become a stronger vocalist over the last 20 years. He says it is still a work in progress.
“I’m a more involved singer than I used to be. I’m more involved in the arrangements, making a statement and being a songwriter than I used to be…It’s a constant battle. It’s never the same thing twice. There are some days that I have really good control, and some days I don’t,” Bonamassa says.
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The artist recently began working with an eight-piece band that includes established musicians such as Nashville recording artist and bass guitarist Michael Rhodes and keyboard player Reese Wynans from Double Trouble. This is why he's been creating new material and reworking old songs like “If Heartaches Were Nickels.”
Bonamassa says during concerts, he can give audiences a taste of the different music he has produced throughout his career.
Bonamassa says, “We get to all the favorites, but we basically look back on this tour.”
Joe Bonamassa is scheduled to perform at Comerica Theatre on Friday, October 25. Tickets start at $62.50 at livenation.com.