Grand Prairie, TX – Of the many things I can thank my father for, an appreciation for music is at the top of the list. That appreciation would not be complete without an introduction to the styling of Mr. Joe Bonamassa.

Joe Bonamassa, Calvin Mims,
Flashback to 1991, I remember seeing 13-year-old Joe rocking a bowl-cut on Real Life with Jane Pauley. A fourth generation working musician, Joe first picked up a guitar at the age of 5. Taught by his father, he started playing local shows in his hometown of Utica, NY, at the age of 9. Yes, 9.  And at 13 when I was happy to be playing in the high school jazz band, this kid was touring with the likes of B.B. King and John Lee Hooker.

dsc_0587The evolution and career of Bonamassa’s blues style is nothing short of inconceivable at first glance. His musical genes are no surprise as both his great-grandfather and grandfather were trumpeters in ballroom and swing bands. His father ended up playing guitar in a band as well.

Here was a kid who began developing his style and playing with some of the legends of the blues, before he was old enough to have his first broken heart. Fast forward to present day, living the dream, he certainly has nothing to sing the blues about, but the sound is in his soul.


In front of a packed house of more than 6,400 fans at the Verizon Theater, Joe shredded nonstop for two straight hours, save one brief break to introduce and thank the band. Coming fresh off another Grammy nomination in the Best Traditional Blues Album category for his 2016 Live at the Greek Theatre, Joe kicked off the show with a nod to local legends Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.

Wielding a ’54 Fender Stratocaster, originally owned by Playboy Eldon Shamblin, Joe opened with “This Train” off the recently released Blues of Desperation album. One of the prized members of his collection originally given to Shamblin by Leo Fender, this was the very first custom color Strat ever produced.

dsc_0550Bonamassa moved seamlessly through the night with a focus on his most recent originals off Blues of Desperation and into tributes to Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Albert King, Led Zeppelin, and Leon Russell.

With 4 stops left on the 2016 tour, Bonamassa will finish in Southern California before enjoying a much-needed two-month break after touring over 200 nights a year.

For more on Joe Bonamassa and tour dates click HERE

Check out more photos from Verizon Theatre below: