The one the only Mr. Joe Bonamassa has taken another brave turn in his career in the formation of yet another side-project this time in the formation of an instrumental group The Sleep EAZY’S. The band is formed out of Bonammas’s touring band mostly who is a majestic collection of five-star musicians that make the backbone to one serious live performance. If you have never had the pleasure of witnessing these guys live it is an absolute must and has to be on your bucket list if you are a lover of the Blues.
Bonamassa is a monster when it comes to recording music, as prolific an artist as you’ll see on the modern-day music scene he has put out over 40 albums collectively as a solo artist and working with some of the finest in the business including Black Country Communion and Beth Hart. This side step to produce an instrumental recording is to some a surprise and to others to be expected from such a monstrous guitar player, what will be a surprise however is the musical direction of the album. Easy to Buy, Hard To Sell is very much a statement that is so typically Joe Bonamassa, a recording of that speaks to the very nature of what appeals to the man himself, the music which influenced him, inspire him and that made him the guitar player he is today. The album takes a slight departure from Bonamassa’s revered repertoire, with the intent of honoring Danny Gatton, one of his most influential mentors, as well as covering instrumental versions of some of his favorites from Frank Sinatra, Danny Gatton, Tony Joe White, King Curtis and more. Bonamassa shares his excitement on the project, “To be honest I have always wanted to do a record like this. But, to be even more honest I’m not sure I was ready both professionally and musically, until now. The time finally felt right to finally pay tribute to a mentor, a friend and one of the greatest guitarists of all time: the late great Danny Gatton. My time hanging out and jamming with Danny as a child shaped my playing and musical pathway more than just about anyone.”
From the off you know you’re not in Kansas anymore, you are instead whipped off to an otherworldly collection of vintage-inspired tracks that don’t necessarily revolve around the guitar like so many guitar instrumental recordings, instead each and every musician on the album if upfront and center showcasing their majesty throughout. Largely comprised of Joe’s touring band, the Sleep Eazys includes Late Night with David Letterman’s Anton Fig (percussion), Musician’s Hall of Famer Michael Rhodes (bass), Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Reese Wynans (keyboards), Lee Thornburg (trumpet), Paulie Cerra (saxophone), along with Jade MacRae and Juanita Tippins on background vocals, and of course, Bonamassa on guitar. Accompanying the stellar and tight-knit cast is Jimmy Hall on harmonica and esteemed multi-instrumentalist John Jorgenson.
Joe, of course, does make his mark, fear not six-string shredders Bonamassa is as always at his finest on this quirky and charming recording, what you won’t get here is your typical Bonamassa recording in any shape or form but an extension of the great man’s playing and musicality on a totally different level. Clearly a very personal recording, Bonamassa has wrapped himself up and created a world far removed from 2020 and brought it to you in nine perfectly formed recordings to take you on a rollercoaster journey to help expand your mind. Bonamassa has let the songs, the music do the talking here more so than the ego of an individual who feels that he needs to upfront and center laying down blistering solo after blistering solo, instead, Joe is simply part of a bigger picture here where the music, the songs and those he is paying tribute to are the real heroes here.
A genuinely beautiful album from start to finish Bonamassa has delivered once again.
The SLeep EAZY’s, Easy To Buy, Hard To Sell is out Friday, April 10th via Provogue/J&R Adventures
1. Fun House
3. Ace Of Spades
4. Ha So
5. Hawaiian Eye
6. Bond (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
7. Polk Salad Annie
8. Blue Nocturne
9. It Was A Very Good Year