Joe Bonamassa - Time Clocks

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Bonamassa's wealth of talent as a singer, songwriter and guitar player is of course the main reason for his success. But not to be overlooked as to why he is so popular is his willingness to put himself out there; he keeps a rigorous touring schedule (when the pandemic allows), he is constantly collaborating with other artists and the new releases keep coming at a steady rate. After a very foreboding and brief (about a minute long) instrumental introduction new album Time Clocks begins with "Notches," a cut about endless travel that listeners at first might think refers to Joe himself. But on closer listen the song is about an evil (or at least dreaded) presence that is everywhere, all the time, and that without being named is clearly referencing the Devil or the Grim Reaper. "The Heart That Never Waits," on the other hand is not too hard to interpret; it's a shuffling blues about getting away from struggling with booze and such only to have to make major changes again to get away from a spiteful lover. Delicate guitar picking and dramatic vocals highlight "Time Clocks," an emotional cut that recalls Meat Loaf at times and the Who at others. "Curtain Call" is a little Zeppelin-esque, and like many Led Zeppelin songs the lyrics are delightfully cryptic. "Hanging on a Loser" moves to a funky blues bounce while lyrically dressing down a lover that's "hanging on a loser like me" while closing cut "Known Unknowns" is a lengthy and soulful jam that belies its subject of a breakup with upbeat melody, effervescent guitar work and bright background vocals from Juanita Tippins and Prinnie Stevens who are featured throughout the album. The core of Joe's backup band here is Anton Fig on drums, Steve Mackey on bass and Lachy Doley on keys. Everything here was co-written by Bonamassa and his songwriting skills are stronger than ever, resulting in a stellar effort that fans will warm to quickly.

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