Joe Bonamassa doesn’t hold back on his latest album – Royal Tea. Packed with a heavy, driving backing sound from a superb band featuring the legendary Reese Wynans on keyboards, Anton Fig on drums and Michael Rhodes on bass and, of course, Kevin Shirley on production duties.
Bonamassa made no secret of his dream to record in Abbey Road Studios and has produced an excellent album – one of his best in years. Aided by an excellent writing partnership with blues legend Bernie Marsden and Pete Brown, former lyricist for Cream. The album features some great tracks including the title track Royal Tea and a Conversation with Alice.
Although the album was originally scheduled to be recorded in July 2019, it was put back until January 2020, in what seems like a distant world to most of us now. Then of course the Covid 19 lockdown kicked in and all live music was suspended. However, this didn’t stop the workaholic Bonamassa who arranged a massive online broadcast to raise funds for his Keeping the Blues Alive charity – which helps to support blues musicians in need. Then seeing an opportunity to promote his new album he assembled his touring band to play a one-off gig at the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville with only cardboard cut-outs making up the audience!
It was a surreal experience, Bonamassa and band were on fine form but the silence between the songs served to highlight the strange times we now find ourselves in. Royal Tea is an excellent album by Bonamassa and one well worth looking out for.