Blues-rock superstar Joe Bonamassa is one of the most celebrated performing musicians of today. As a two-time GRAMMY-nominated artist who recently achieved his 24th #1 album on the BillboardBlues Chart, with the studio album Royal Tea, Joe is only in his early 40s and he’s already become a living legend with an astounding multi-genre catalogue of music. Collectively, Bonamassa has over 40 albums to date with studio and live recordings, collaborative albums with blues sensation Beth Hart, and the adventurous side projects Black Country Communion and Rock Candy Funk Party. A prolific writer who is always on the hunt to expand his eclectic musical horizons, Bonamassa has a limitless work ethic whether it’s in a studio, on the road, or working with other artists to spur new music. He’s been featured in several publications from Esquire, WSJ and Parade to Rolling Stone and American Songwriter, as well as on the covers of Guitar World, Guitar Player, Vintage Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, and Classic Rock Magazine.
The New York state native opened up for B.B. King when he was only 12 years old and has since played alongside such artists as Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, John Lee Hooker, Warren Haynes, Steve Winwood, Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy, among others. B.B. King might not have guessed it at the time, but that 12-year-old whiz kid would go on to become an industry powerhouse. Building on their 30-year partnership, Bonamassa and his manager, Roy Weisman, created their own record label, management, marketing, and concert promotion company called J&R Adventures almost two decades ago. Together, the two mavericks devised a 360-degree independent business model that has survived and thrived during one of the music industry’s most uncertain eras.
Cited by Guitar World as “arguably the world’s biggest blues guitarist,” Bonamassa is known for taking risks and venturing into uncharted territory throughout his wide-ranging career but now he has found a new way to surprise his fans and music lovers. His latest studio album, released in 2020 and recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, Royal Tea brings Bonamassa full-circle. “This whole adventure,” admits Joe, “was a bucket-list thing for me.” This album reconnects the guitar-slinging kid who stumbled across the best of British blues music in his dad’s vinyl collection, to the player he is today. The album’s cast of homegrown notables includes former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden, ex-Cream lyricist Pete Brown and national-treasure piano man Jools Holland. Bonamassa’s long standing producer Kevin Shirley and regular touring band flew in for the recording sessions, which included Anton Fig (drums), Michael Rhodes (bass), and Reese Wynans (keys). During quarantine, Bonamassa delivered a groundbreaking live performance from the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, where he played Royal Tea in its entirety to over tens of thousands of people across the globe and recorded it for a DVD set to release in 2021.
Then in December 2020, Paramount Home Entertainment released an incredible documentary on Bonamassa’s life, aptly titled GUITAR MAN. Featuring behind the scenes interviews and live concert footage showcasing some of the biggest names in music, fans can enjoy the exhilarating soundtrack of his phenomenal life. Filled with an abundance of music, live concert footage, and interviews with music industry legends, GUITAR MAN chronicles a musician growing in his craft, traveling the globe, collaborating with top artists from across the world of music, and ascending to the heights of inevitable success. The film delivers a deeply personal insider’s look into Bonamassa’s life like never before.
Joe also runs a non-profit organization called Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, whose mission is to promote and sustain music education and blues music by funding scholarships and providing music education resources to schools in need. To date, the non-profit has funded schools and teachers with over $1 Million and has positively impacted 70,000 students all across the country. Bonamassa hosts an annual Music Festival cruise “Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea” which has sold out the last 6 years since its inception and has become a favorite among his fans and music lovers alike. The highly-anticipated next cruise is set to sail in 2022 and is already Sold out after being postponed due to the pandemic.
Since COVID-19 has changed the ways of the world, Bonamassa has been working hard to raise money for musicians affected by the crisis, by creating the Fueling Musicians program. The initiative is an emergency relief plan designed to support musicians by providing immediate cash payments for essential living expenses of $1,500 to help them stay afloat and get back on the road again when it is safe. To date, they’ve raised over $460,000 and distributed money to over 250 artists. Bonamassa’s desire to create this program came to him while under stay-at-home orders. Joe kept thinking of his past struggles as a touring musician trying to make it on his own, and how much more difficult the current situation is for artists whose futures are now uncertain. “Right now, the music industry has been brought to its knees,” explains Joe Bonamassa. He recognizes that to truly support these artists, necessary funding will be crucial to maintain their livelihoods during the crisis, as well as helping them get back on the road when live music events are permitted.
While waiting for the green light to tour, Bonamassa has been staying busy with his successful new video interview series “Live From Nerdville” where he has interviewed a wide array of guests ranging from renowned musicians, industry leaders and legendary entertainers, including Dion, Paul Stanley, John Oates, Brad Paisley, Jeff Garlin, Ben Folds, and featuring Peter Frampton as the 50th episode featured guest. The show is gearing up for its 3rd season and is broadcasted and promoted on all of Joe’s social media platforms to his more than 5 million fans as well as on all podcasting platforms.
In June 2020, Bonamassa released music icon Dion’s new album Blues With Friends on he and his Manager Roy Weisman’s new record label Keeping The Blues Alive Records and Dion’s first single “Blues Comin’ On” also features Bonamassa on slide guitar. Now in 2021, Bonamassa has teamed up to produce Chicago’s Queen of Guitar, Joanna Connor, for her latest album 4801 South Indiana Avenue, which released February 26 on KTBA Records. Joanna shares the special memory of working with Bonamassa: “I remember asking Joe point-blank, ‘Out of all the guitar players in the world why me?’ He said, “Because you have an intensity about your playing that most people don’t have. As a matter of fact, I wish I had some of that in myself where you just let it go, and you don’t even think about it.” Both albums debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Charts and Joe plans to produce and release more artists on the KTBA label this year.
Bonamassa is an enthusiastic live performer and his shows are one of the biggest parts of his career. Pollstar listed him as having one of the highest-grossing ticket sales in the world. His tours have sold out iconic venues across the globe, including Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO, The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, Radio City Music Hall in NYC and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. He’s typically on the road about 200 days out of the year, and when he’s not on stage, he’s fully committed to crafting the most intricate, diversified new music to share with his audiences and fans.
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