Guitar Man Joe Bonamassa documentary review Chris High
December 8th, 2020
Running Time: 2 hours 49 mins.
Producers: J & R Adventures
“There’s a time backstage,” Joe Bonamassa says at the beginning of this fabulously insightful documentary, “when I could be talking about absolutely anything. Then it comes to 7:25 and I’ll say: ‘Sorry guys. I need to wrap this up. I have to go be the other guy now.’”
That ‘other guy’ is inarguably one of the greatest guitar players bestriding the planet at this moment, and Guitar Man not only sets this reputation still further in stone, it also provides a humility that can sometimes get lost in wordy reportage.
Much has been said about Bonamassa being reared on the blues, thanks to his ancestors all being musicians of some repute. Much has also been said about the young Joe being mentored by and opening, aged just 12 years old, for B. B. King. Snippets here and there have been seen on other DVD compilations, most notably Muddy Wolf: Live at Red Rocks.
What hasn’t really been aired previously, though, is absolute respect he has from his peers and colleagues. Kevin Shirley, Bonamassa’s long-time producer, heads this list along with Roy Weisman, his long-time manager. Their devotion to the man and his music is plainly obvious, yet not so much as for it to be fawning in any way.
When difficult decisions have needed to be made, it is refreshing to see that – from a management point of view – these have been solely from the best of intentions so as to get the best out their charge. When the guitarist himself has made tough decisions, the film shows his dogged determination in maintaining a truth not only to himself, but most importantly the music. “I was done with that ‘pop shit’ and I no longer cared about getting air play. The was where I felt it was at and I wanted to go out and find it for myself” he says, explaining his earliest feelings.
There is also an acknowledgement to the hand fate has had in what has turned out – through hard work, dedication and determination – a hugely successful career. Planets and stars align on occasion and what can born is something so quintessentially superb, it almost defies logic.
This alignment has resulted in the triumvirate of Bonamassa, Shirley and Weisman joining forces and that, while continuing to strive for experimentation and new frontiers to stretch ever further backwards, the Blues remains the place they are at and the destination remains yet to be discovered.
Not exactly a warts and all account, Joe Bonamassa: Guitar Man is nevertheless a must have addition to any fan of ‘Smokin’ Joe’s music and a fascinating account to al those who wish to, somehow, try following his dogged footsteps.
ON VIDEO-ON-DEMAND AND DIGITAL DECEMBER 8, 2020
Pre-order the Guitar Man documentary from – https://paramnt.us/GuitarManSite