One of the most iconic names in modern blues music, Joe Bonamassa has released his highly anticipated new album Royal Tea from his sessions at Abbey Road. The guitarist and vocalist recorded the entire album at the studios, with Joe taking inspiration from the work of Jeff Beck, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton and Cream.Longtime Bonamassa collaborator Kevin Shirley is once again on production duties, alongside engineering from Abbey Road's Christopher Parker, and assistance from Marta Di Nozzi. The record also features Bonamassa’s touring band - bassist Michael Rhodes, drummer Anton Fig and keyboardist Reese Wynans. The bluesman’s collaborators on Royal Tea were also of British rock royalty, with former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden, ex-Cream lyricist Pete Brown and celebrated pianist Jools Holland all lending a hand to the writing process.
Royal Tea began via a 2018 conversation with Marsden and Brown when the guitarist was contributing to an Acoustic Cream album, playing Sunshine of Your Love to with the late Cream drummer Ginger Baker. Before he left, however, Marsden and Brown pitched the Royal Tea idea to Bonamassa.
Joe Bonamassa - Royal Tea
"America’s most prolific blues guitarist re-connects with his inner Brit." - MojoOn the idea, Bonamassa recalls: “They said, Y’know, it wouldn’t be the worst idea if the three of us put our heads together and make a record. That’s how it started, I told them, After my next tour I’ll just come to England and I’ll write with you guys, and we’ll how see English we can get this American blues guitarist to sound.
Bonamassa arrived in London with the idea of immersing himself into the community. He lived in the city for five weeks during the summer of 2019, hiring out one of our smaller production spaces while he and Marsden came up with songs, building them from or adding Brown’s lyrics as they came in.
Royal Tea doesn’t fixate on tempos or tones. Opening with the orchestral strings on, When One Door Opens it blends the ornate intro with a heavy main riff and faint backing vocals to create a vast soundscape. Equally heavy is the following Royal Tea. Punctuated guitar licks and Reese Wynans’s Hammond Organ bursts lift the verses creating a clever call-and-response between Bonamassa and the backing vocalists. The remainder of the album doesn't over emphasise its British influence, but the overall power and focused songwriting are constant.
Royal Tea’s Tracklisting:
- When One Door Opens
2. Royal Tea
3. Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye
4. Lookout Man
5. High Class Girl
6. A Conversation With Alice
7. I Didn’t Think She Would Do It
8. Beyond The Silence
9. Lonely Boy
Purchase the album on the Abbey Road Shop now.