New Hartford native, Joe Bonamassa, teams up once again with multi-talented blues rocker Beth Hart, on their newly released album Black Coffee, which covers some classic recordings from legendary soul artist.
Black Coffee will see the duo perform ten, time-honored soul tracks by artist like Ike & Tina Turner/Steve Marriot, Edgar Winter, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Lil’ Green, LaVern Baker, Howlin’ Wolf, Lucinda Williams, and Waldeck. The Grammy nominated duo turned to a familiar face in producer Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Rush, and Bonamassa himself) who helped produce the duo’s Seesaw album in 2013.
Bonamassa and crew sought out some of the best musicians in the music industry to help collaborate on Black Coffee including Anton Fig (Drums/Percussion), Ron Dziubla (Saxophone), and Lee Thornburg (Horn Arrangements/Trumpet/Trombone) and welcomed in Reese Wynans (Keyboards), Michael Rhodes (Bass), Rob McNelley (Rhythm Guitar), Paulie Cerra (Saxophone), Mahalia Barnes (Backing Vocals), Jade Macrae (Backing Vocals) and Juanita Tippins (Backing Vocals). The album was recorded at the Studio at the Palms in Las Vegas in five days.
Producer Kevin Shirley talked about past sessions behind Black Coffee, and what they were tying to achieve on the album. He stated, “We’re trying not to dig into a playbook that’s been done many times which is the old soul classics. We try and find a different spin on it, originally it was about trying to find some songs that people didn’t know at all and bring them back to people’s attention.” Bonamassa added, “For me I’m able to explore the kind of music I have always admired from afar, but you don’t want to hear me singing Ella Fitzgerald…” Hart chimed in saying, “I would never do Ella Fitzgerald without being with Joe, the things I get to do with you are things I think I grew up always wanting to do, but never believed I could.” Bonamassa went on to explain, “It’s really predicated on the vocals. We can’t cut these tunes without Beth singing and once she starts singing, it’s the glue that inspires us to get the extra 10% out of the playing. If we just cut them and sang later, the magic wouldn’t be there.” Hart agreed adding,”That’s something the two of us stopped doing many, many years ago. There was all this layering and layering and then it’s time for you to sing and it’s like you’re not even making music any more. There’s nothing like being able to sit there live and see Joe, seeing the drums, seeing the bass, being able to see Kevin. I can feel the vibrations, it changes the whole thing.”
Bonamassa became intrigued by Hart after seeing her perform on television, and even more impressed after seeing her perform a show in Switzerland. He would cross paths with her several times during separate runs of Europe. Wanting to try something new, Bonamassa was inspired to pair himself with a female musician with Hart being his first choice.
Black Coffee Tracklist:
Give It Everything You Got
Damn Your Eyes
Lullaby Of The Leaves
Why Don’t You Do Right
Sitting On Top Of The World
Soul On Fire
Baby, I Love You * Bonus Track