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Joe Bonamassa

A New Day Now (20th Anniversary Edition)

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing disc. It's a re-master of Joe Bonamassa's first album. That doesn't really fully capture what this is, though. The album was remastered by Kevin Shirley, but it goes deeper than that. In some cases, like "If Heartaches Were Nickels," the final master couldn't be located. So, that meant using the master that was recorded just previous to the final one. It's a different take and doesn't feature the guests who were on the original. Even on the songs where the original master was just remixed, Bonamassa recorded new vocal parts. So, this is a different take on the album. It's a strong release that has some fiery hard rock and blues. There are some bonus tracks that were recorded by Steven Van Zandt and never before released. Those are more mainstream rockers than they were blues rock. All in all, this is quite a cool set that also includes a booklet with lots more details about the process of redoing the mixes.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Cradle Rock
The guitar fires in with hard rocking fury as this comes out of the gate. This is a screaming hot powerhouse number. The vocals come in over the top with a lot of power and emotion. This isn't the blues, but rather hard rock that's informed by the blues. The closing movement has almost a prog rock complexity to it. It should be noted that this is a Rory Gallagher tune.
Walk In My Shadows
Now, this is more of a pure blues, of the walking variety. Yet, it's ramped up in intensity, and there is still some rock in the mix. Bonamassa's guitar fills are so strong. This was originally done by Free.
A New Day Yesterday
A cover of a Jethro Tull song, Bonamassa really intensifies this thing and powers it up into a pure blues rock tune. I love the sped up powerhouse jam at the end of the piece.
I Know Where I Belong
The first original of the set, there is a real funky groove to this song. It's a soulful, jazzy kind of number that still has plenty of blues edge to it. The guitar soloing is less "in your face" than that on the earlier tracks, but it's no less impressive.
Miss You, Hate You
There are hints of country music in the mix here, but overall this is more of an alternative rock piece. It's another original. It turns harder rocking and more blues based later as Bonamassa's soloing screams across the soundscape.
Nuthin’ I Wouldn’t Do (For A Woman Like You)
After some studio stuff and a count-in, the guitar screams out with some old-time rock and roll intensified. The cut fires out from there in killer bluesy rock fashion.  This song was originally by Al Kooper. Bonamassa throws down some particularly meaty guitar soloing on this beast.
Colour And Shape
This is more of a melodic piece when it comes into being, feeling a bit like a proggy fusion. It's another original tune, and it does get some bluesy vibes added to it. Still, it's more classic rock than blues based.
Headaches And Heartbreaks
Another original, this is more of the blues rock one expects from Bonamassa. It's also a particularly strong tune. I love the bass work on this. There is a jam later in the track that takes it more into a Zeppelin meets Hendrix vein.
Trouble Waiting
Another blues jam, this is up-tempo and classy stuff. It's another original number. It has some retro sounds and perhaps feels more like the kind of music one expects from Bonamassa. The guitar soloing is killer, but that's to be expected.
If Heartaches Were Nickels
Written by Warren Haynes and original recorded by Kenny Neal, this has some killer blues tones at its core. This is a classy tune and a great performance.
Current Situation
A harder rocking screamer, this thing has a lot of blues at its core. This is another original.
Don’t Burn Down That Bridge
It's suitable that this track is positively incendiary. It's a screaming hot blues rocker that's just so cool. This is a tune that was originally by Albert King.
Bonus Tracks
             
Hey Mona

Much more of a pure rock tune than anything on the album proper, this works really well.

I Want You
This is a huge change. It's basically a punky, edgy rocker. I can hear hints of the Rolling Stones in this.
Line of Denial
Here we get another straight hard rock tune. I really love some of the guitar riffs on this thing.
 
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