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Guitar Virtuoso Joe Bonamassa to Perform at Rockwell Hall in February

Posted: November 24, 2008

Blues/rock guitar genius, vocalist and songwriter Joe Bonamassa performs at the Performing Arts Center on Friday, February 27, at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets are $40-$30 each, with rush tickets for students. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, December 3 and can be purchased at the Rockwell Hall Box Office, 1300 Elmwood Ave., by calling 716-878-3005 or online at  Box Office hours are Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Blues-rock guitar virtuoso, vocalist and songwriter Joe Bonamassa kicked off 2007 with the honor of being named Best Blues Guitarist by Guitar Player Magazine's readership in their annual Reader's Choice Awards. The year continued with the release of Sloe Gin, Bonamassa's seventh solo album, and fourth on his own J&R Adventures label. A mix of heavy blues, big rock and textured acoustic tracks that Joe says was in part inspired by Rod Stewart's legendary 1969 debut solo LP, it reunites him with producer Kevin Shirley (Joe Satriani, Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin).

Shirley previously produced Bonamassa's You & Me, which debuted at #1 on Billboard's Blues chart in June 2006 (all of Joe's albums have either hit #1 or gone Top 10). Modern Guitars Magazine called the disc, "one of the best blues-rock CDs to come about in quite a while...destined to be a classic." NPR host George Graham wrote, "Almost four decades ago, British rockers who played bluesy guitar became the heroes on their instruments, people like Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. Joe Bonamassa carries on that tradition...Bonamassa is in every way their equal."

Widely renowned for his insanely fluid phrasing and post-modern fusion of electric British blues, traditional Delta blues and rock 'n roll chops, Bonamassa Told Guitar Player in '05, "When I play blues, I try to think a little outside the box, while still paying tribute to the founding fathers like Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson." His latest work pushes the envelope even further - "Sloe Gin," says Joe, "is different than anything I've ever done. We bettered You & Me. The songs are more refined, and I was concentrating on them as a whole rather than only thinking about a 50-bar guitar solo. Also, singing is a bigger part of it for me than ever before, and it's awesome to have that space - to connect with fans on a musical and lyrical level."

Born in Utica, NY on May 8, 1977 - the day that would have been blues icon Robert Johnson's 66th birthday - the now L.A.-based Joe Bonamassa's own musical experience began with playing guitar at age four on a short-scale Chiquita given to him by his father, a guitar dealer and player himself. By the time he was seven, he'd stepped up to a full-scale model and was uncannily mastering Stevie Ray Vaughan licks. At ten, he was gigging at venues in upstate New York, where he came to the legendary B.B. King's attention. After initially hearing Bonamassa play, King - who personally asked Joe to open for his landmark 2005 80th birthday celebration tour - said, "This kid's potential is unbelievable. He hasn't even begun to scratch the surface. He's one of a kind."

By the time he was twelve, Joe was touring with King, which led to opening slots for many other stars including Buddy Guy, Foreigner, George Thorogood, Robert Cray, Stephen Stills, Joe Cocker and Gregg Allman. Storied producer Phil Ramone once said of him, "prodigies come few and far between. I saw him take an audience apart." Bonamassa's journeyman touring has built an audience of fans as legion and generation-spanning as his famed collaborators, and his live shows - over 150 a year - are breathtaking in their intensity. Beatles promoter Sam Leach compared the first time he saw Joe to his initial glimpse of the Fab Four at the Cavern Club - "I got that same feeling of excitement...Joe is the premiere Blues/Rock artist on the planet."

With 2007's Sloe Gin, Bonamassa's redefinition of the blues-rock art form continues to evolve as does his own identity as one of contemporary music's most profoundly talented stars. Joe also actively serves as the youngest-ever member of the Memphis, TN-based Blues Foundation's Board of Directors, and is the lead spokesperson for their highly respected Blues In The Schools program, which educates students nationwide about the legacy and influence of the blues.
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