The wait is over, Joe Bonamassa’s new solo studio album Royal Tea inspired by his British guitar heroes Jeff Beck, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton and Cream was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios and will be released on October 23rd via J&R Adventures. Bonamassa also surprised his fans this past Friday with his latest single, “Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye.”
Bonamassa is known for taking risks and venturing into uncharted territory throughout his wide-ranging career but now he has found a new way to surprise his fans and music lovers. Royal Tea brings Bonamassa full-circle. “This whole adventure,” admits Joe, “was a bucket-list thing for me.” This album reconnects the 43-year-old with the guitar-slinging kid from upstate New York, who stumbled across the best of British blues music in his dad’s vinyl collection – whose influences have shaped him to be the player he is today. “I would have been about twelve years old, and it was the sound I heard in my head. Like, ‘OK, I’m in. That’s what I want to be’.”
These ten original tracks were co-written by Joe and a cast of homegrown notables including former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden, ex-Cream lyricist Pete Brown and national-treasure piano man Jools Holland. “Writing this record in London has done its job,” reflects Bonamassa. “It really does sound inherently British. Bernie and I, we finish each other’s sentences. We’re cut from the same cloth.” Bonamassa’s long-standing producer Kevin Shirley and regular touring band flew in for the recording sessions, which included Anton Fig (drums), Michael Rhodes (bass) and Reese Wynans (keys).
While much of the applause Bonamassa receives should be credited to his sheer talent, some part of his success needs to be attributed to Joe and his business partner for having the foresight and ability to become some of music’s savviest entrepreneurs. Bonamassa now 43, and his partner Roy Weisman have together devised a 360-degree independent business model that has survived and thrived during one of the music industry’s most uncertain eras, particularly considering the challenges created by the current pandemic.
Bonamassa’s Royal Tea and A New Day Now follow his instrumental side project called The Sleep Eazys, who released their stunning debut album, Easy To Buy, Hard To Sell, earlier this year. The album, which the Associated Press touted as making “instrumental dreams,” was produced by Bonamassa and features some of his frequent collaborators, along with his all-star touring band. The Sleep Eazys project is Joe’s second time in the studio as a producer, after Reese Wynans’ long-awaited debut solo album Sweet Release.
In addition, Joe continues to crank out weekly programming for Sirius XM’s Bluesville channel for his radio show “Different Shades Of Blue.” More recently, he kicked off a new at-home weekly interview series “Live From Nerdville” on his Facebook and YouTube page, featuring episodes with Neal Schon of Journey, John Oates of Hall & Oates, Glenn Hughes, Paul Stanley of Kiss, Warren Haynes, Keb’ Mo’, Walter Trout and esteemed singer-songwriter Dion.