Bonamassa is back! Royal Tea brings us Joe’s latest solo studio recording, which opens with an orchestral arrangement to intrigue and demands your attention. What has Joe got in his bag of tricks this time around, for those who took the opportunity to get a taster Joe previewed, live-streamed the album recently with the lack of touring going on, it was well appreciated by those going through Bonamassa withdrawals.
Joe’s album opener ‘When One Door Opens’ is a musical tour de force at 7 minutes 35 seconds it takes no prisoners, gripping you by the throat it takes you on a musical journey through the heart, mind, and fingers of this six-string wizard. A blistering opener only whets the appetite for what is to come. As always, Bonamassa’s albums are packed with quality, from the sumptuous backing vocals to the glorious Hammond organ on display and the gnarly guitar work throughout you get only the finest cuts here, you never quite know where Bonamassa will take you from one album to the next but goddam you always know you’re in for one hell of a ride!
There is almost a Prog-Esque vibe at times across Royal Tea, with Joe pushing his very own boundaries, interweaving his musical influences and styles throughout. ‘Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye’ acmes in once again at a meaty 6 minutes 35, and you know it’s going to be an absolute beauty from the opening lick, that tone pierces the heart and Joe’s delicious vocal delivery just nails the emotive quality throughout. Building to a crescendo and teasing us with its imploding energy as the tension rises, and the riffle kicks in.
‘Lookout Man’ throws down its groove-laden riff and challenges you not to dig it, but you will, gnarly sounding and equally bitchin’ vocal delivery just hammers it’s bad-ass attitude from the off, ‘I Didn’t Think She Would Do It’ with Bonamassa’s signature wha-wha and guitar harmonies make you feel right at home, intricate drum patterns and huge sing-along melodies make sure there is something for everyone across this fine recording and is one of the highlights for me.
There is plenty of Bonamassa’s swagger here to ensure the faithful masses will be more than happy with his latest offering, as always Joe like to take his audience on a musical journey that expands on where he left off on his last outing, and rightly so as an artist, he’s never resting on his laurels, but always pushing the boundaries of the genre through his own recordings and collaborations.
Royal Tea is everything and more that I expected from Joe Bonamassa, a beautifully delivered album from a master of his craft. In these surreal times, you can always rely on Joe to bring a little comfort to the masses with another beauty to site alongside his formidable catalog and yet, still have us begging for more.