CD Review – Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart “Seesaw”
Seesaw is such a fitting title for the second collaboration album from Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart as it not only demarks the hot title track but hints that you are about to hear these great artists head out for some musical recess away from their regular gigs and share the fun filled ride they had. The eleven song follow up to their much heralded album Don’t Explain ,finds the duo once again paying tribute to the soul music they so love. Hart takes her vaunted vocal skills up to an even higher level as she tackles tunes from icons such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Billie Holiday, and Tina Turner, honoring each with precision and passion. From her coquettish tease on the swing thing “Them There Eyes,” to the flat out perfection of “A Sunday Kind of Love,” and gritty fire of “Nutbush City Limits,” Hart can do no wrong. Harts also pays homage to modern kindred spirits on two fairly straight up covers of tunes from Melody Gardot and German hipsters Anna Leyne and Slackwax. Bonamassa is his expected guitar god self throughout the songs demonstrating his mastery of tone and style. He closes the seven minute down and dirty rendition of Blood Sweat and Tears classic “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know,” with a ripping solo that drives it on home then demonstrates his skill on slide guitar for a boot kickin’ run through of the Lucinda Williams hit “Can’t Let Go.” Once again the duo is expertly produced by Kevin Shirley who retained the gunslingers from the previous album: Anton Fig (drums, percussion), Carmine Rojas (bass), Blondie Chaplin (rhythm guitar), and Arlan Schierbaum (organ, piano). This time out, their mighty sound is augmented by a horn section, with Lee Thornburg on trumpets and trombones and Ron Dziubla on saxophones. This mainly upbeat album does a 180 degree turn and closes with the chilling denouement of “Strange Fruit,” a funeral dirge that brings the joyous recess time to a screeching halt and drags us back to harsh reality with much to contemplate.
Originally Published at Innocent Words June 2013
Rick J Bowen