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Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks
Joe Bonamassa
Label: J&R Adventures
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Review Date: March 22, 2015


Love it/buy it.

As in previous reviews of past Bonamassa projects, that’s my review in nut shell.

For the rest of you, “Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks,” is the latest – and much anticipated – album from Joe Bonamassa. Recorded live on CD and DVD in front of 9,000 enthusiastic fans, this exclusive concert pays tribute to blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf against the backdrop of the famed Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Bonamassa gives fans over two and a half hours of some of the best blues you’ll ever hear. If you pick up the DVD, you’ll get an additional one and a half hours of bonus features including behind the scenes peeks, historic clips of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, a impressive photo gallery and a very cool featurette of Joe and his producer, Kevin Shirley, visiting the fabled Crossroads.

Always full of delightfully creative surprises, this album is the first of a planned series of tribute concerts that will feature a different band and body of work that will a marked difference from Joe’s own catalog.

Behind Joe for this performance was Kirk Fletcher on guitar, the legendary Anton Fig on drums, Michael Rhodes on bass, Reese Wynans on keys, Mike Henderson on harmonica, and Lee Thornburg, Ron Dziuba, and Nick Lane on horns. Tight and precise, the team sounded as though they had played the same set every night for years. Each and every song performed is an audio/visual delight. Observing the crowd while watching the DVD, it’s obvious that they felt the same way.  

Honestly, though, while I, obviously, love the musical performance, my most favorite part of the whole package is the segment detailing Joe and Kevin Shirley visiting the Delta Blues Museum and the mythical (but very real) crossroads in Clarksdale and (more importantly) Rosedale, Mississippi. You will hear Joe’s personal musical story and his love for the blues. It’s a fascinating glimpse both into the beginning of the blues as well as into Bonamassa’s passion and commitment for the genre. Eavesdropping on Joe and Kevin talking about everything under the sun while driving is the closest thing I’ll ever come to being a fly on the proverbial wall, listening to these guys chat. What a treat!

By the way, it’s interesting that Joe and Robert Johnson share the same birthday (different years, of course): May 8th.

Speaking of that commitment, the concert at Red Rocks was presented by Joe’s “Keeping The Blues Alive” (KTBA) – a foundation he founded to promote the heritage of the blues to future generations as well as fund scholarships, and supplement music education funding for public schools that have loss such funding. That particular show raised over $40,000 for this effort.

Order this package below and, if you feel so inclined, make a donation to Keeping The Blues Alive (here).