Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and BB King trip off the tongue when asked to name the greatest guitar players of all time - but make way for Joe Bonamassa!
His popularity is exploding all over the globe as the blues rock singer-songwriter is becoming widely revered by critics and fans alike as the new guitar king.
It’s not just how lightning fast his fingers fly effortlessly around the fretboard, which is truly jaw-dropping.
Beyond the technical skills and his incredible guitar virtuosity, his performances are full of passion and feeling. Bonamassa is the real deal.
And UK audiences will get the chance to see the magic for themselves when he embarks on a UK tour including a date at the Blackpool Opera House on Saturday, April 22.
In an exclusive interview - listen to our chat online with full details of all the dates - he reveals what fans old and new can expect, talks about his collection of 300 guitars and which one he would want with him on a desert island.
He also tells how he started playing guitar aged four and how listening to British blues rock legends inspired him to do what he is doing today. But it was as a 12 year old, supporting late great blues legend BB King, that changed his life and made him realise his dream.
Joe, who tuns 40 in May, was born in New York and now lives in LA. He is as self-effacing as they come, Asked outright if he is the greatest guitarist of all time, he said: “No, no, no. I’m sometimes not even the greatest guitar player in the room.”
To be fair, he is probably thinking about the night he was starstuck when his idol Eric Clapton joined him on stage to perform alongside him at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2009.
Joe added: “It’s subjective. I’ve always said the best rock guitar player in the world would have to be Jeff Beck, who is able to reinvent himself time and time again to play blues, rock and forward thinking music
“My favourite singer songwriter and guitar player is Eric Clapton.
“I performed for BB King when I was only 12. He took an interest in a kid playing blues and the rest is history. He was the king of the blues and is sorely missed. It changed my life.”
He admits he is not sentimental about memorabilia - he hasn’t kept his first guitar, But he does have a collection of 300 guitars and is always looking to add to it. So don’t be surprised to see him browsing UK guitar shops.
His name has also sold thousands of Gibson Les Paul Joe Bonamassa signature guitars.
He said: “I’ll buy if I find something with history. If it’s beat up, plays good and sounds good then I will take it on the road. I’ve probably got 300 in my collection. I don’t really have a favourite.”
If he was stuck on a desert island - with electricity - which guitar would he take with him?
He laughed: “If I was on a desert island with no electricity I think my guitar playing days would be pretty much over
“I would probably take a Fender Stratocaster because I can do anything with that. Oh and a couple of extra sets of strings.”
Joe has recorded 12 studio albums - including latest and Grammy-nominated Blues of Desperation – plus numerous live albums, collaboration albums and live DVDs. He says UK fans will get a selection of new and classic material.
He said: “It will be two hours of blues rock fun.”
“People in the UK have been very supportive of me. It all started in the UK and I’ve been very lucky that people have been following me for over a decade now like this.”
• The Blackpool Opera House gig is heading for a sell-out but a limited number of tickets have been released and are available online at www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk, the venue box office on 0844 856 1111, or can be purchased from the Blackpool Opera House box office at Church Street, Blackpool, FY1 1HW.
AUDIO: Listen to Joe Bonamassa chat with Graham Walker about his forthcoming April 2017 UK tour CLICK HERE
You can also see him at Sheffield Arena on Monday, April 24. Tickets and full details at www.sheffieldarena.co.uk