Driving Towards The Daylight is Joe Bonamassa’s 13th solo album and once again Joe teamed up with the proflific producer Kevin Shirley this time at Studio At The Palms, Las Vegas; The Village Recorder , LA and The Cave in Malibu. Kevin and Joe’s vision for this record was to get back to basics taking some classic traditional blues songs from the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson and give them a Rock vibe while still maintaining the original vibe of the songs. Kevin Shirley gathered a talented group of musician’s for the album including Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford and his son Harrison.
“This is definitely more influenced by early 60′s English and American rock and blues. I guess we’ll never get that out of our system and its fun to come in here and find out own path down the highway.” – Brad Whitford speaking from the studio.
The album features four Joe Bonamassa originals, “Dislocated Boy” one of my favourites on the album with it’s Ballad Of John Henry style baritone riffs, “Driving Towards The Daylight“, “Heavenly Soul” and “Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go” with it’s ZZ Top kind of vibe. My absolute favourite track on the album is Joe’s cover of Robert Johnson’s “Stones In My Passway” which has a tone and feel reminiscent of classic Jimmy Page arrangements of blues classics. One of the tracks that took me by surprise is “Too Much Ain’t Enough Love” written by and featuring Aussie singer Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel. The original version is quite cheesy and very 80′s sounding but Joe’s arrangement totally transforms this song and wow what a voice, definitely a highlight of the album.
While the plan may have been getting back to basics, there is certainly no expense spared on the production of this album it is the best sounding Bonamassa album to date in my opinion, it sounds a lot bolder and with more punch than say Black Rock. In terms of songs though there is a lot more grinding blues tracks that had me wanting to pick up my guitar and jam along, “Lonely Town Lonely Street” (arrangement of a Bill Withers song) is such a track for instance it’s just so much fun to play. I’ve liked all of Joe’s releases but this one immediately had me hitting the repeat button and listening to it again and again, as always the guitar playing is amazing and the rhythm guitar tones, which differ from track to track, are some of the best tones I’ve heard on Joe’s records. There’s enough variation on this album to keep the listeners interest on Driving Towards The Daylight and Joe covers a number of different blues styles as always, if you’ve never bought a Joe Bonamassa album before start with this one!