Hailed internationally as one of the greatest guitar players of his generation, Joe Bonamassa returns to Coronado Performing Arts Center for a one-night performance at 8 p.m. Monday, March 9.
Bonamassa says he looks forward to performing in Rockford, where he has a strong fan base and feels well received, having played here in 2013 and 2015.
“With every performance, my sole goal is to entertain and hopefully become a better songwriter, singer and performer,” he says.
The 2020 tour began mid-February in Montgomery, Ala., and will wind up in Seattle at the end of March.
The concert will feature new songs from an album that will be released in October, as well as familiar tunes. The new album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London and is described by the artist as “blues with a British influence.”
“It’s been on my bucket list to do a British blues album,” he says.
At 42, the artist performs more than 100 shows each year and is on the road more than 200 days per year. He’s booked for the next two years.
The 2020 tour will take him to South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio before he arrives in Rockford. Then, he’ll travel north to Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wis., before performing in Minneapolis, Boise, Spokane and Seattle. Next he’ll head to Europe, where he’ll perform 17 concerts, with stops in England, Germany and Russia before headlining the Mediterranean edition of his Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea festival, which sails from Spain this August.
Bonamassa began playing guitar at age 4 in Utica, NY. It was his childhood dream to play guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of the greatest guitar players of all time. Vaughan spearheaded a blues revival in the 1980s and was an American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer before he died in a 1990 helicopter crash at age 35. Bonamassa was also inspired by the talent of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.
At just 12 years old, Bonamassa was invited to open for another one of his heroes, B. B. King. He was playing regularly around New York and in 1994 joined a band called Bloodline. He also played with Black Country Communion from 2009 to 2013 and then with Rock Candy Funk Party.
With 37 albums to his credit and two Grammy nominations, the most recent one in 2017, some of his best-selling singles include “Woke Up Dreaming,” “Blue and Evil,” “Just Got Paid,” “Driving Toward the Daylight,” “Songs of Yesterday,” “Sloe Gin, “The Ballad of John Henry” and “Mountain Time.”
He records his albums on his own label, J&R Adventures, which he established with his manager Roy Weisman. The label is also a management, marketing and concert promotion company that’s existed for more than a decade and thrives on an innovative business model that survives the ups and downs of the music industry. Weisman has been Bonamassa’s only manager for his entire career.
Knowing the impact music had on his life as a child and the passion he still has for it today, Bonamassa wants to help others to discover the joy of music.
In 2011, he founded the Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, whose mission is to keep the art of music in schools by funding projects, scholarships and grants that preserve music education for the next generation.
“I want to give back and enrich the children’s lives through music they can enjoy today while developing talents that will last a lifetime,” he says. “It’s important for me to do this because charity starts at home.”
Every week, the foundation donates to a different school across the country in need of instruments, sheet music, supplies and more to uphold the rich culture and history of blues and all other types of music. Having raised more than $600,000 since its inception, the foundation has impacted more than 70,000 students in all 50 states through more than 450 projects.
To promote the foundation, he sponsors two music festival cruises a year called “Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea,” featuring some of today’s biggest blues acts.
His other recent accomplishments include receiving the Guitar World Magazine Best Blues Guitar Player Award in 2019 and hosting SiriusXM’s Different Shades of Blue with Joe Bonamassa on Bluesville channel 74 on Mondays. ❚