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Review: Joe Bonamassa ‘Time Clocks’

Joe Bonamassa photo

Photo: Eleanor Jane

Album Review: ‘Time Clocks’ by Joe Bonamassa

By Martine Ehrenclou

Blues/rock legend Joe Bonamassa is known the world over as one of the greatest guitar players and also one of the most prolific. Time after time, he puts out great albums, not just because of his wizardry on guitar and soulful, often striking vocals and songwriting, but because he challenges himself and his fans with each new venture.

Joe Bonamassa’s new studio album, Time Clocks is no different, a thrilling, expansive and moody record that’s big on production, out October 29 via Provogue. Produced by Kevin Shirley and mixed by the legendary Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones), the album smacks of reflection, anguish and insight. Infused with big sound, effects and cinematic nuances, Time Clocks reflects Bonamassa’s undeniable brilliance and mastery of craft.

With top-tier musicians, the band includes Steve Mackey (bass), Lachy Doley (piano), Bunna Lawrie (didgeridoo), Bobby Summerfield (percussion), Anton Fig (drums and percussion), along with backing vocalists Mahalia Barnes, Juanita Tippins, and Prinnie Stevenson, Bonamassa breaks new ground with Time Clocks , blending genres and varied musical timbres and textures. It is a bold and remarkable addition to his catalogue of 40 albums and 30 years as a professional musician.

Following Bonamassa’s Royal Tea (2020), Time Clocks opens with “Pilgrimage,” a 54 second-long theatrical intro, a snippet of a movie score, a preview of what’s to come.

“Notches,” co-written with Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr, is a rocking beast and dazzles on every level. The band blasts off with Bonamassa singing about having travelled the world, his guitar licks spare against the pulsing rhythm section, only to draw back to didgeridoo and dissonant chords. With lines like “Try to get one over, I’ve got news for you, When you poke the bear, you’re bound to lose,” it makes one wonder what the man behind the suit has been going through.

The bluesy “The Heart That Never Waits” is a sure-fire winner, co-written by James House. Killer piano plays the foil for Joe’s trademark sinewy guitar riffs, the rhythm section glorious. Whether you listen to any Bonamassa album or see him live, the musicians he surrounds himself with are jaw-dropping good. A song of heartbreak about a broken relationship, the groove will move you. Joe is present in every note, his soulful vocals better than ever. As you’d expect, his guitar solo is inventive and downright extraordinary.

Watch “The Heart That Never Waits”

  Strings come in to play on “Questions and Answers,” a dramatic rock song about betrayal and bitterness. Joe is strident, forthright in his accusations toward a woman embroiled in deceit. His guitar riffs are riveting, intense, fueled by anger and hurt. You won’t be able to turn away. He sings, “Did you like being his woman, His woman on the side, If that’s the case Baby, Excuse my foolish pride.” This track might be the most original on the album, with the bridge winding into tango, violins and syncopated rhythms. You haven’t heard anything like this by Joe Bonamassa.

Time Clocks moves into melancholy, desperation perhaps, with songs like “Mind’s Eye,” co-written with Bernie Marsden. It’s a melodic rock ballad about the need to slow the spiral down, about the importance of tuning in to both sides of a story. A distinctive march, “Curtain Call,” with acoustic guitar, strings and a stomping fiery streak, Joe sings “This is the march of a broken soul.” The effects combined with the strike of drums are chilling.

“Hanging On A Loser,” co-written with Tom Hambridge, is a lively, bluesy tune with delightful piano, slide guitar and a swampy, honkytonk feel. With great groove and gospel backing singers, you can hear that Joe and the band are having a blast.

Time Clocks by Joe Bonamassa is about the songs, high quality tracks to satisfy almost every musical palette. The record, in some ways, also beckons to be a movie score, each track simulating segments of an overall story. Some open a window to the man behind the suit.

Joe Bonamassa Time Clocks album cover

‘Time Clocks’ pre-order link for North America and pre-order link for the UK and Europe.

Joe Bonamassa website

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oh my….I have to say this is probably one of his finest songs…we are so lucky to have this man and his music…Thank you Joe Bonamassa………

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Just heard the new album. So different. Proggy in places, anthemic in others, balls out rock, heartbreaking blues, it’s all there. Superb!

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A brilliant and diverse album which opens up new directions for Joe B. Traces of Pink Floyd, Yes, Led Zeppelin and the Who are present in a much more progressive sound . Bonamassa at his very best throughout. Looking forward to seeing him live next year, especially if he plays tracks from this great album.

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Joe’s best album by far. If this doesnt win a Grammy it goes to show just how cliquish and irreverent the now tightly controlled music industry has become. Those who do their OWN thing, on their OWN label, their OWN sweat and ideas, their OWN risk and reward…are a looming threat to an industry who has a bevy of lawyers to keep REAL music, off the “airwave” and out of competition by saturating outlets with cut n paste crap, hateful, lawless and sexually fueled lyricism and shoved down the throats of every music platform…..they hire the songwriting groups, developed most if the backing melodies, tweaking voices, manufactoring beats…they keep most of the revenue, copies, rights to the masters…..while squeezing the “indie” labels out with sheer volume, theft of intellectual property and “cancelling” of anyone who threatens their control of this once free and imaginative industry of talent and collaboration, now but an increasingly controlling, cancelling, domineering and dangerous entity to all who want to share their music with the world.

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Another significant notch (no pun intended) in the belt for Joe. Saw him at the Greek on Aug. 1st and still wonder why he didn’t play any of the new songs. After seeing the roster of musicians for Time Clocks, other than Anton and Mahalia, his recent usual touring band was not involved, although I’m quite sure they would have been up to the task. Was an awesome show regardless, and always great to hear new music from JB anytime. As Mike stated above, another Grammy worthy effort.

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Great Album. Love Joe. His voice and guitar playing gets better all the time

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I was blessed to have pulled video’s through my dish network to find Joe. Blessed to have crossed paths with his show in Sacramento. I have seen alot of concerts. This show in the theatre was the most powerful concert I have ever. I finally opened up and played the Time Clocks CD. Chills is all I can say. What a musician, the best. This show beats Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” concert I saw at the Swing Auditorium, going way back, and the Rolling Stones last year in Vegas. Thank You Joe Bonamassa!!!! I will cherish the memories and the music. Just like you described your “F’ You Rich friend and song writer, your music and excellence in performing are F You The Best!! I am just sorry my brother couldn’t make the show with me.

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time clocks review joe bonamassa

Review | Joe Bonamassa-Time Clocks


Without any doubt Joe Bonamassa is the man with the most studio and live-releases behind his name since the release of his first solo-album in the year 2000. The work ethic of the guitarist/singer is enormous and above any discussion. ‘Time Clocks’ is his 17th studio-album . Add to that 17 official live-registrations plus albums with singer Beth Hart and the group Black Country Communion plus some other projects and you end up with an amount that is hard to imagine. And on top of that the man has held up a murderous tour schedule throughout the years. After the release of the first solo-album ‘A New Day Yesterday’ the flood gates opened big time.

Many people would describe some of these records and tours as overkill. In a way that might be the case, but through his work ethic and attitude Joe has gained a great reputation amongst his growing army of fans and also other musicians. The man who started out in little sweaty clubs is now performing in big concert halls and when a new Bonamassa tour is announced people show up in large figures to see him play.

During the years a certain image has been carefully created. Off stage you see him walk around in a T-shirt, baseball cap and jeans. But when he goes on stage he changes into a nice suit, the hair slick and tight with sun glasses on his nose, more looking like an accountant than a modern-day rock star. It has worked out well. But all this would mean nothing if Joe did not deliver the musical goods.


Not so long ago I attended a ‘celebration of life’ for my dear brother-in-law Brett Johnson who passed away. He was a huge Bonamassa fan and I remember the times that we went to several Bonamassa concerts together at the Perth Concert Hall. On that day the Bonamassa song ,,Sloe Gin’’ was played as that was Brett’s favourite song.

While hearing that song, the lyrical message and the superb guitar work on that particular track I started looking forward to Joe’s new album ‘Time Clocks’ that was being announced for an October 29 release. Joe’s new album might not be so adventurous anymore as some of his older albums but it has turned into one of his most solid ones. I liked his recent releases like ‘Royal Tea’ and ‘Redemption’ but they were not as exciting perhaps as older releases like ‘Sloe Gin’ , ‘You & Me’ , ‘The Ballad Of John Henry’ or ‘Black Rock’ . Joe’s music had become a bit contemporary, more aimed at a sophisticated and bigger audience. I guess in a way it was a logical transition and that has been continued on ‘Time Clocks’.

What I am saying is, is that Joe Bonamassa and his long-time producer Kevin Shirley have found a right balance in the music and the sound. It has more than enough balls to keep a fan of the more raunchy rocking Joe interested but it is also sounding contemporary (or maybe I should say accessible) enough to satisfy the fans that have discovered him more recently through ‘younger’ releases. ‘Time Clocks’ balances somewhere in between.

Joe as always has top musicians around him in the studio. This time drummer Anton Fig , keyboardist Lachy Doley and bass player Steve Mackey while the female back-up singers also play a good role on some of the songs such as ,,Curtain Call’’ or ,,Questions & Answers’’ , giving those particular tracks some more character. As a vocalist Joe has made an enormous progression throughout the years and he can now tackle ballads, heavy blues rockers or anything in between with a lot more confidence in his luggage. That shows on ‘Time Clocks’ that also has some clever arrangements and orchestral bits but (luckily) no horn sections.

The question is if Joe Bonamassa and his team have taken any musical risks on ‘Time Clocks’? I don’t really think so as the album sounds like a logical follow-up of ‘Royal Tea’ and ‘Redemption’. Mind you, there are some very good songs present on ‘Time Clocks’ but also one or two that might not have the same ‘aura’. Fact is though that this album is of such a balanced quality that the general Bonamassa fan will lap this up for sure.

Related links

  • Review 'Royal Tea'
  • Review 'Redemption'
  • Review 'british Blues Explosion-Live'

#antonfig #bethhart #blackcountrycommunion #blues #bluesrock #guitarist #headbanger #joebonamassa #kevinshirley #lachydoley #mlg #provogue #stevemackey #timeclocks

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Billy strings and molly tuttle in conversation.

Tuttle and Strings first recorded together on Strings’ 2017 release, Turmoil & Tinfoil .

Looking back on their latest releases, the two bluegrass phenoms and friends sit down with one another to talk musical heritage, stage fright, gear, and more.

In any music scene, it’s natural that talented contemporaries will find each other and form fast, harmonious fraternity. It’s no surprise, then, that Nashville-based bluegrass virtuosos Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle became close friends and collaborators as early as 2017—when they were both just 24—and, as is now somewhat common knowledge, were one-time roommates. Tuttle was first featured on Strings’ full-length release, Turmoil & Tinfoil , and a few years later, Strings guested on Tuttle’s Grammy-winning 2022 album, Crooked Tree , on the track “Dooley’s Farm,” while performing together often in the interim.

The pair have a lot in common, and we thought it would be a great idea to put them together to interview one another. “Billy and I, we both grew up playing with our dads,” Tuttle shares at the very beginning of the conversation. Tuttle made her first professional appearance as a recording artist at 13, when she and her father, Jack Tuttle, released The Old Apple Tree . Since her 2019 solo debut, When You’re Ready , Tuttle has evolved through both warm and peppery country tones and her original, adventurous approach to bluegrass , circling back to the genre’s traditional homey twang on Crooked Tree . A new album , City of Gold , is due July 21—and, inspired by her constant touring over the last few years, will offer 13 new tracks that capture the electric energy of the band's live shows.

More recently, Strings felt a sudden sense of urgency to record with his father, Terry Barber, and in November 2022, he put out Me/And/Dad , on which the two play 14 classic bluegrass tunes. As Tuttle comments with fondness below, Strings has a distinctive Doc Watson-esque attack, something that gets flavored by a death metal edge—heard in the every-so-often spectral chord and touch of grimness—thanks to his background in that scene. He recorded his latest single, “California Sober,” with Willie Nelson, and can be heard in duet with Tommy Emmanuel on the Australian guitarist’s new single, “Doc’s Guitar/Black Mountain Rag.”

Dooley's Farm (feat. Billy Strings)

While Strings grew up in Michigan and Tuttle the San Francisco Bay Area, much of their upbringing happened in parallel. Both musicians experienced turning-point moments in their teenage years, where they discovered that not only did their peers accept them for their bluegrass aptitude but celebrated them. For Strings, it happened when he excited his “hipster” friends with a performance of “Black Mountain Rag” at a house party, and for Tuttle, around the time Mumford & Sons was gaining popularity, her classmates discovered her banjo talents—and she became the “banjo girl.”

“Bluegrass is the music that can make me laugh or cry, that I really feel in my soul, and so my electric guitar started collecting dust.”—Billy Strings

Now deep into their discographies, the 30-year-old phenoms took a pause before (and amidst) tour dates to reconnect and discuss the many experiences they’ve shared in modern Americana music. The following conversation offers a view into that world, as well as unique insights into why the two get along so well as both musicians and people.

Molly Tuttle: Billy, you made that awesome new record with your dad. When you were growing up playing music with your dad, did you ever feel like there was a disconnect between the bluegrass side of what you did and other music you played with your peers, or listened to with your peers?

Billy Strings: Yeah, I remember it was probably around the time I was in middle school—I was a skateboarder, and I was playing video games and just hangin’ out with friends. I was getting too cool to be hanging out with my dad’s old friends playing bluegrass. I was like, “Man, I want to play music with people with common interests, not just sitting here talking about Gunsmoke or something.”

But I joined metal bands and got that out of my system, and eventually, I came back around full circle and just had this realization that bluegrass is what I cut my teeth on and what I was spoon-fed as a boy, and it’s really where my heart truly is. Bluegrass is the music that can make me laugh or cry, that I really feel in my soul, and so my electric guitar started collecting dust.

Tuttle: I really resonate with that, because I’ve gone through so many phases of trying to figure out who I am musically, and it took me longer to accept bluegrass as part of who I am. And it really is what makes me, me. But how do I tell my own story through bluegrass? ’Cause there are those two ends of the spectrum. I feel like I’ve gone the other way and been like, “Well, I’m not just a bluegrass musician, I play all this other stuff too.” And then I’ve also felt like, I want to play bluegrass and make it authentic to the genre. It kind of came down to songwriting, to me—like, how do I tell my story through this music and show how it came to be such a big part of my life?

The two bluegrass virtuosos both grew up learning how to play from their fathers, one in California (Tuttle), the other in Michigan (Strings).

Photo by Alysse Gafkjen

Strings: What are some of your earliest memories of playing with your dad? Do you have any big moments as a child that you were like, “This is what I’m doing—I’m a guitar player”?

Tuttle: I remember as a kid, I played a lot with my dad and we would play around the area where I grew up, in the Bay Area—play different local shows. One big moment for me, when I was like 12 or 13, was getting to go to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco and seeing Earl Scruggs, Hazel Dickens…. Me and my dad somehow finagled backstage passes and got to go to this afterparty, and Hazel was there. It was just so cool. Gillian Welch was there, and Dave Rawlings. He was like, my guitar hero. I remember going into the greenroom to put my stuff down and seeing him just sitting there with a guitar, and that blew my mind. Just seeing people like that up close was like, “Whoa, I could actually do this, and this world feels like where I belong. I could see myself doing this for a long time.” I realized I just wanted to play music as much as possible.

What was the Michigan music scene like for you growing up? Were there festivals or anything that was really important to you?

Strings: Well, I didn’t go to many festivals. At least, when I was young and growing up and first learning how to play, it was more just like me and my dad, my uncle Brad Lasko, and a couple buddies sittin’ around picking by the creek. But all these years later…. I watch other people on stage and I’m like, “How the fuck do they do that? How do they get up there and just play and sing?” I do that too, but I don’t think I do it like other people do. I was at this festival in Texas [ South by Southwest ], and I was nervous watching other performers! I was nervous for them, like, “Oh my gosh, she’s just up there singing and laying her heart out there! That is terrifying!”

Tuttle: [ Laughs. ]

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Strings: It’s definitely a weird thing. I still just do not understand how we can get up on stage and do whatever it is that we do.

Tuttle: Do you get any sort of stage fright ever? For me it comes and goes. If you think about it too much.… Sometimes I’m like, what if I don’t remember a single word to any of my songs? [ Laughs. ]

Strings: I just am always in a state of anxiety because of my career [ laughs ]. There’s all this pressure. But I’m usually fine once I get out there. It’s leading up to it. Even right now. I’ve been home for two or three weeks, and I’m leaving the day after tomorrow to go back on tour, and I’m scared that I don’t remember how to do it! I don’t know if I remember how to make a set list. I don’t know if I remember if I can still perform a show. But once you get back out there, you just throw yourself into the ring and it’s kind of like them guys that ride them bulls or something. You just kind of strap on, like, “Fuck it, here we go—8 seconds, hold on!”

Tuttle: [ Laughs. ] I feel like it’s this third thing, like your subconscious takes over and then you remember how to do it. But if you start thinking about it in advance…. We took some time off over the winter break and I had the same feeling, like, “Whoa, how did I do that before?” It really is kind of an extreme thing that we do: traveling all over the place, playing in front of a lot of people.

Strings: But shit, what the hell else are we going to do? Heavy lifting?

PG: Molly, I know Crooked Tree came out about a year ago now. For your earlier recordings, you said that you were trying to experiment musically, whereas this one was more traditional. Is that right?

Tuttle: Yeah, I kind of went back to the bluegrass sound that I grew up with. My first full record, When You’re Ready , I’d just gotten to Nashville. I was writing a bunch of songs where I didn’t know what category they fit into genre-wise. I had so much fun making that record; I really got to experiment with a different style. But then I think something happened in the pandemic lockdown. I got so nostalgic for that music I grew up with, and I missed my family; I missed the community aspect of bluegrass. I love this kind of music; it is folk music, in a way, where it gets passed down from generation to generation. It’s such an organic style of music that brings people together.

So, I started writing bluegrass songs for fun. I was like, “What I feel like I hear bluegrass missing these days, when I turn on the radio, is songs that sound original.” So, I wanted to write songs that could be sung in a bluegrass band, but also told my point-of-view and my story. Once I started, it was hard to stop, and I realized, “I have a full album of songs now, I might as well go into the studio this summer and try to knock out a record.”

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Tuttle has been performing professionally since the age of 13 but didn’t blow her bluegrass cover in school until her later teens.

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Strings: And you won a Grammy for it. And I was so happy, because I was just like, she deserves this so much. Obviously, this always gets brought up, but we used to live in the same house—we used to be roommates. And I would always hear Molly practicing and shit, and I’d be like, “Fuck, man, I suck!” [ Laughs. ]

Tuttle: [ Laughs. ] I get that feeling when I hear you play, because I feel like we have such different styles. I’m like, “I could never do what Billy is doing.” The way you attack the guitar—I hear Doc Watson, but then there’s also your metal influence as well. I’m just in awe of your playing.

Strings: I’m just fakin’ it. I’m just wingin’ it the whole time, constantly. But are you still usin’ the same pick? Those little black things? What are those?

“Sometimes it may not look like I’m tensing up from someone watching me playing, but inside, I am kind of tense. But I think it is almost meditative, where you have to let go and let yourself play.”—Molly Tuttle

Tuttle: Dunlop Jazztone picks. I feel like I should switch. They’re not fancy picks, and sometimes I’ll try out other picks and people will be like, “That sounds really good.” [ Laughs. ] I’m just so used to them; I’ve used the same picks since I was 10 years old. They’re pretty heavy picks.

Strings: Well, that’s your sound, where you’re comfortable. I’m finding that that’s what it’s all about, for me anyways, is trying to make it comfortable to play. When I watch other people play, like you, or [ Bryan ] Sutton, it looks like almost kind of effortless in a way. There’s not all this tension, there’s not veins popping out [l aughs ]. I’m straining, but some people I see play and there’s just wonderful technique.

Tuttle: I have that too. Sometimes it may not look like I’m tensing up from someone watching me playing, but inside, I am kind of tense. And that’s when I feel like my playing doesn’t come through as well. But I think it is almost meditative, where you have to let go and let yourself play.

When Strings and Tuttle lived together in Nashville, they both felt intimidated when overhearing the other practicing.

Strings: What kind of strings do you use?

Tuttle: I use D’Addario medium gauge [ phosphor bronze ]. I use the coated ones because my hands are very acidic.

Strings: Me too! I use the same ones! Shout-out to D’Addario .013–.056 medium gauge phosphor bronze, right? Gotta have that medium gauge, gotta have that coated, ’cause we sweat like crazy. And they don’t break! What guitar are you playing mostly on stage? Which one is the one that’s doin’ it for ya?

Tuttle: Right now, I’m using my Prewar Guitar Company. It’s a Brazilian rosewood D-28 style. I feel like the action and setup stay pretty even on tour, and I love the tone of it. That’s my current fave—what about you?

Strings: Still my [ Preston ] Thompson that I’ve been using forever. Brazilian, spruce-top dreadnought. I’ve been playing it for several years and that’s the guitar that I play on stage. It’s been through hell. It’s been smashed and it’s been put back together. But it always sounds the best plugged in. I use a K&K pickup and I run it through a [Grace Design BiX]. Also, I have a ’45 Martin that I just put a pickup in. I just wanted to have an old one that I can play on stage. But every time, I go back to Old Faithful. I started calling that guitar “Frankenstein” originally because I put all those different pickups in it, and the switch, and it’s got a microphone installed on the inside that goes to my in-ears. And I had them make me another one just like it, and that’s “The Bride.”

This isn’t guitar nerdy stuff, but I have this song, “Away from the Mire.” I wrote it when I got into a fight with my brother. Then, one night when I was on stage singin’ it, I realized that I wrote that song for myself; I was the one that needed to hear it. Do you have a song like that?

Tuttle: Definitely. I think the first therapeutic song that I remember recording of mine was “Good Enough,” that I recorded on my first ever EP. It’s about accepting yourself. I think I was struggling at the time with anxiety, and just getting started in my career and not knowing where things were going. I was trying to help myself stay in the moment. And I feel like that’s still a theme that I still write about. It means different things to me throughout my life.

“I think our duty is just to bring a little joy to people’s day. And sometimes they can give it back to us by accepting our audible diaries that we pour into our songs.”—Billy Strings

Strings: Well, just keep doing the work, because it’s beautiful stuff and we all need it! I think our duty is just to bring a little joy to people’s day. And sometimes they can give it back to us by accepting our audible diaries that we pour into our songs. We’re lucky to be able to do what we do, and I’m stoked watching you and your band out there kicking ass. It’s just fuckin’ awesome.

Tuttle: Likewise! I just love how you’re bringing this music to the masses, really educating people too about where it came from and your heroes and why it’s so important to you.

It doesn’t take a trained eye to appreciate the wild shredding energy of Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle, seen in this live performance of Strings’ “Billy in the Lowground.”

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Time Clocks

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Time Clocks Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Time Clocks slowly comes into focus after the short atmospheric instrumental "Pilgrimage" sets the stage for a moody, cinematic record. In its brief minute, Joe Bonamassa plays a fat, melodic phrase that sounds uncannily like David Gilmour , a tone and aesthetic he'll return to throughout Time Clocks. Other blues and classic rock greats are alluded to on the album -- the winding riff propelling "Notches" harkens back to Peter Green -era Fleetwood Mac , Clapton is always lurking around the corner -- but at this stage of his career Bonamassa is a stylist, tying together recognizable influences into something distinctively his own. Here, he's leaning toward somber introspection, filtering his musings on life and society through a Pink Floyd prism. Listen to the title track, where the stately tempo, backing vocals and stair-stepping minor-key riff all recall Floyd , yet he adds flourishes in his arrangements and solos that steer these astral sounds right down to earth. Much of Time Clocks rambles -- six of its ten songs are over six minutes, with another coming close to that mark -- but the blustering "Questions and Answers" shows that this wandering provides for a more interesting listen than when Bonamassa keeps things on the straight and narrow.

Track Listing

Time Clocks

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Joe Bonamassa – Time Clocks (Album Review)

time clocks review joe bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa has been on a terror since he burst onto the scene in 2000 with his debut record, “A New Day Yesterday.” Twenty years later, he drops his 15 th studio record, a new chapter in his bulging discography that offers a few new shades of the blues with a bit of spit shine polish and a bit less eccentricity.

Being unabashedly committed to the blues, Bonamassa faces an uphill battle in putting out music that doesn’t sound tired or repetitive. The very nature of the blues means there’s a certain degree of predictability and historic tradition that can be limiting. In the past, a typical Bonamassa studio record would feature a lot of variety in order to combat this potential pitfall. That often ended up being both a blessing and a curse in that some songs, while offering new flavors, sometimes fell short on strength in songwriting. For this listener, a typical Joe Bonamassa studio album had some essential tracks, paired with some skippers. With “Time Clocks,” the gap has lessened, and this record has a more cohesive quality from track to track. That’s a compliment to the song selection, as well as the performances on this.

time clocks review joe bonamassa

“Time Clocks” Album Artwork

There are a few new things that make the record fresh, though nothing to risk redefining Bonamassa , or his well worn genre. It’s a blues rock record, with perhaps a bit more rock than some of this previous efforts. Hints of Jimmy Page and David Gilmour leak through the roof of his excellent guitar playing, while the foundation remains solid thanks to another bedrock performance from Anton Fig on the drums and Steve Mackey on bass. The walls of the building are buttressed by a strong lead vocal performance from Bonamassa , who has only grown in his conviction and confidence behind the mic, as well as the usually stellar backup vocals of Mahalia Barnes , and Juanita Barnes . Prinnie Stevens appears in place of the historically stunning Jade McRae , who may have been absent due to travel restrictions—the same ones that stranded long-time producer Kevin Shirley in Australia, where he contributed remotely thanks to COVID. The entire building even gets a fresh coat of paint in the prog-tinged album artwork by the legendary Hugh Syme , who was the mastermind behind many of Rush ’s most iconic covers. And Bob Clearmountain ’s pristine mix adds even more curb appeal to this structural gem.  

While there are some touches of country and celtic on “Time Clocks,” it’s squarely an old-school sounding rock record with good guitar tone, accessible choruses and stand at the front of the stage solos that are polished and well produced without sounding stripped of their live fire. It’s sonically sharp with a song selection that’s consistent and strong throughout, with very little incentive to skip any tracks. That’s an accomplishment unto itself, given the limiting nature of the blues. Most of the tracks are a bit longer, with three clocking in at over 7 minutes each, and three others in the 6-minute territory. None of them feel too long, however, and pretty much all of them are highly accessible upon first listen, and improve with multiple exposure. Personal favorites for this listener include “Notches,” “The Heart That Never Waits,” “Mind’s Eye,” “The Loyal Kind” and “Known Unknowns,” but every track deserves its place here. More than ever, Joe seems to have put a greater emphasis on the songs, and it clearly works to his benefit here.

“Time Clocks” may be the perfect starting place for anyone curious about how the self-proclaimed guitar collector from Nerdville has managed to build up unstoppable momentum with nearly nonstop record release and tour cycles. It features the trademark elements of Bonamassa ’s sound that has thrilled audiences globally, with just enough maturity and added sophistication that comes from a team devoted to upping its game every chance it gets. Pandemic be damned, some really good records have risen from the ashes of live music in the age of COVID, and Joe ’s latest is certainly one of the strongest of his career. And that just leaves this listener feeling happy to have these blues.

Released By: Provogue / J&R Adventures Released On: October 29th, 2021 Genre: Blues Rock

“Time Clocks”  track listing:

“Time Clocks” is available on CD, vinyl and digital and  can be ordered HERE .

“Time Clocks” may be the perfect starting place for anyone curious about how the self-proclaimed guitar collector from Nerdville has managed to build up unstoppable momentum with nearly nonstop record release and tour cycles. It features the trademark elements of Bonamassa’s sound that has thrilled audiences globally, with just enough maturity and added sophistication that comes from a team devoted to upping its game every chance it gets.

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Joe Bonamassa releases a new single “Time Clocks”

Guitar legend Joe Bonamassa reveals his stunningly sweeping new single, “Time Clocks.” This is the third song taken from his forthcoming brand-new studio album of the same name, released on October 29 via Provogue (Europe) and J&R Adventures (North America).

Joe continues his soul-searching evolution on this beautifully poignant Bonamassa-Shirley penned song. At just over seven minutes long, it has all the epic musical grandeur of him at his most expressive and ambitious. With a heart on sleeve narrative weaving its way throughout, the rousing chorus rises to the heavens as he sings, “and the rain soaking through my coat, about to capsize my boat I push it along away from the docks, I was never a good puncher of time clocks.”  Backed with cascading vocals from Juanita Tippins and Prinnie Stevens, as well as the supreme musicianship of Anton Fig (drums), Steve Mackey (bass), Lachy Doley (piano, organ) and Kevin Shirley (percussion), it has an aura of pure timelessness.

Pre order your copy of Time Clocks here from Amazon.

Joe Bonamassa releases a new single "Time Clocks"

The album was recorded in New York City and took Joe back to his early roots and rediscovers him at a newfound peak with an unparalleled Blues Rock prowess. Known as the man in the suit, loved by many as the ultimate guitar hero, and cited by critics as “the world’s biggest blues guitarist” (Guitar World), somehow the music mastermind has found yet another layer of immense new artistry to share with his fans. Recently Bonamassa dropped hints of the new album with his reeling anthem “ Notches “, and the Blues heavy single “ The Heart That Never Waits “, another instant classic that takes a tale of heartbreak and turns it around into an undeniable showstopper meant for the stadiums.

The new album is a collection that sheds new light on Joe’s life as a journeyman, constantly creating and always on the run. As “Notches” and “The Heart That Never Waits” would suggest, this album shows that even though Joe chose the road less travelled, it’s led him to success in the end. And he’s not backing down any time soon. A bit older in years but wiser in knowledge earned, his new sound has a raw and vital flavour, combined with a resolute skill that can only be gained through years of perseverance and unyielding dedication. ‘Time Clocks’ follows Joe on his never-ceasing evolution as he continues to forge ahead, bending genres, breaking down walls and defying the odds of the music industry.

For the new studio album, Bonamassa hit the studio with long-time collaborators Kevin Shirley as producer and manager/business partner Roy Weisman as executive producer. Recorded in New York City at Germano Studios/The Hit Factory, the band includes Steve Mackey (bass), Lachy Doley (piano), Bunna Lawrie (didgeridoo), Bobby Summerfield (percussion), and Late Night with David Letterman’s Anton Fig (drums and percussion), along with Mahalia Barnes, Juanita Tippins, and Prinnie Stevens on backing vocals.  The album was mixed by BobClearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Toto, Bon Jovi), and the fantastic artwork on this album was created by famous graphic artist Hugh Syme (Rush, Aerosmith, Whitesnake).

“Time Clocks” is a song that has all the hallmarks of a sure-fire fan-favourite hit. As the world begins to open up and Joe the showman, Joe the entertainer, takes his place on this rightful home on the stage, you can already picture thousands of fans singing back the stirring chorus.

Now, with even bolder energy than ever before, Bonamassa holds the power of controlling both his artistry and his business in both hands. With 24 #1 albums, yearly sold-out tours worldwide and custom annual cruises, he’s a hard act to beat. Joe knows his worth, and albeit humble, he plans to continue to beat the odds and exceed the expectations of naysayers. ‘Time Clocks’ is a testament to his credentials and a toast to his long-time fans. It’s Joe Bonamassa at his finest, ready to rock. In releasing new music destined for the loudspeakers, Joe is elated to get back to the stage. Recently completing a summer tour on the US West Coast, he’ll be back on tour for the fall season with shows across the rest of the country before taking the stage at sea for his sold-out Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea VII cruise, sailing from Miami, FL to Ocho Rios, Jamaica on February 21-25, 2022, by way of the Norwegian Pearl. Joe will also be touring Europe in Spring 2022. For tickets and full tour dates, visit  www.jbonamassa.com/tour-dates .

JOE BONAMASSAAPRIL & MAY 2022 UK TOURTICKETS www.jbonamassa.com www.ticketmaster.co.uk

Joe Bonamassa releases a new single "Time Clocks"

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