The title of JOE BONAMASSA's new album is programmatic in more than one respect: "Royal Tea", conceived and composed in England and produced at Abbey Road Studios, is the "feel-good" album that the New York-born Californian by choice always wanted to make. Even though the permanent tourer is quite tired of the corona-related forced break, his mood immediately brightens when he thinks back to the implementation of his English project.
In view of the fact that music scenes of the most different colours have been concentrated more and more in Nashville for years, it was only logical for Bonamassa to compose pieces together with songwriters based in "Music City" and to record some of them there. The results speak for themselves: His last studio album "Redemption" (2018) shone again with a rich production and snappy songs. However, it also seemed a bit uniform, not to say a bit too smooth for a blues rock record. If Bonamassa had continued on this path, he would probably have led him into a dead end. He and his producer Kevin Shirley, however, recognized the danger and decided to take a different direction: back to the roots - and these roots were in England for the American blues rock guitarist
eclipsed: Did the idea for the English album 2016 come to you during the "British Blues Explosion" tour, during which you toured the UK and Holland with a setlist of songs by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page?
Joe Bonamassa: Yes, it's the logical consequence of that. I've never made a secret of the fact that I have a wide range as a music lover and musician, but my origins, to which I always like to go back, are in the music that originated in England in the late 60s, early 70s: rock, deeply rooted in the blues, which touches me deeply. When I did this "British Blues Explosion" story, it was clear to me that I would like to approach a modern version of it. Something that had more to do with me, but which on the other hand should be developed in England together with English people. I wanted more Englishness
eclipsed: Sounds like you were on the verge of applying for British citizenship?
Bonamassa: You and many other Germans feel the same way as I do - basically we have at least two citizenships: our own - German or in my case American - and musically the British one.
eclipsed: That brings me to another question of conscience: Are you a tea or coffee drinker?
Bonamassa: Here I am on the German-Italian-American side: I am a passionate coffee drinker.