When it comes to guitar-driven, electric blues-rock albums recorded live in the heat of the moment, there's no dearth of material from popular guitarist Joe Bonamassa to choose from. Heck, his chart-topping Beacon Theatre live set is still riding high on the blues chart. That doesn't mean that the hardest-working man in the blues is resting on his laurels and taking any time off, though...on March 26th, 2013 Bonamassa's indie J&R Adventures label will release An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House on two CDs, a pair of DVDs, or Blu-ray disc.
Documenting the guitarist's first-ever entirely-acoustic performance, An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House features 20 performances filmed in high-definition video with Dolby 5.1 sound. The video discs will feature 90 minutes of additional footage, including musician interviews and a "making of" documentary. The list of songs performed that night spans Bonamassa's entire career, including tunes like "The Ballad of John Henry," "Sloe Gin," and "Dustbowl" as well as seldom-performed tracks like "Athens to Athens" and "Black Lung Heartache."
The stage of the Vienna Opera House has played host to composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms among other classical music legends, and for this special event producer Kevin Shirley assembled a heavyweight roster of global talent to play behind Bonamassa for this recording. The line-up includes Irish multi-instrumentalist Gerry O'Connor (fiddle, mandolin, banjo); Swedish multi-instrumentalist Mats Wester (nyckelharpa, keyed fiddle); longtime Bonamassa keyboardist (and Rock Candy Funk Party member) Arlan Schierbaum; and legendary percussionist Lenny Castro, who has played alongside giants like Eric Clapton, Boz Scaggs, the Rolling Stones, and others.
"To say this was a challenge is an understatement," Bonamassa says in a press release for the album. "To say this was a departure from anything I had ever done before is an even bigger understatement. I can say with full certainty that it was the most enjoyable tour I have ever done. On this tour I really learned the virtues of my singing lessons over the years. Take away those long guitar solos, all that sustain and that big Gibson sound and what is left leaves you no option but to dig deep and sing until you can't sing anymore."
Get a taste of An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House right now on YouTube, where you will also find a link to download a free mp3 copy of the album's first single, "Athens to Athens." Bonamassa will launch his North American tour on April 10th, 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia and will open every show with a short acoustic set before the performing his normally dynamic electric set.
Photo courtesy J&R Adventures