Joe Bonamassa

A New Day Yesterday

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Named after the early Jethro Tull classic, which he expertly covers here in a jaw-dropping performance, A New Day Yesterday is a fine debut by guitar ace Joe Bonamassa. And though his record company tried to ride the coattails of teenage guitar prodigies like Kenny Wayne Shepard and Jonny Lang and position him (misguidedly and much too late) as a straight-up prodigal blues kid, Bonamassa is really much more than a traditional bluesman. Rather, as best exemplified by the Jethro Tull number cited above, his bluesy take on Free's "Walk in My Shadows," or his hard boogie romp through Al Kooper's "Nuthin' I Wouldn't Do (For a Woman Like You)," this excellent debut places the guitarist's influences as much in classic '70s hard rock as in the blues. Along with his deceptively age-wearied vocals (he was only 22 at the time of this recording), this unusual combination translates into the aggressive, soulful crunch heard on Bonamassa's many original compositions. Among these, the jolting double whammy of "Miss You, Hate You" and "Colour and the Shape" (note the Anglicized spelling) are the most obvious standouts, but the guitarist also makes the Warren Haynes-penned "If Heartaches Were Nickels" his own with a tense, riveting performance. All in all, a promising debut.

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