Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa: Black Coffee

Like all good women, vocalist Beth Hart brings out the best in guitarist Joe Bonamassa, and vice versa. Hart’s soulful and gritty voice reflects a hard won battle with life, and teamed with Joe B’s encyclopedic knowledge of the boogie-ing blues, an album of vintage R&B comes across as fresh as early morning biscuits and gravy.


Bonamassa essentially brings his regular touring team of Anton Fig/dr, Michael Rhodes/b, Reese Wynans/key, Rob McNelley/g with a horn crew of Ron Dziubla/ts-bs & Paulie Cerra/ts-bs and a backing vocalist unit of Mahalia Barnes, Jade Macrae and Juanita Tippins. The horns steam and sweat as both guitar and voice snarl and growl on swampy pieces like the vintage White Trash “Give It Everything You Got” and the Memphis stew of “Addicted.” The vocals get harrowing  in harmony as Bonamassa plays with his guitar pedals on the fuzzy “Joy” and the team does a 50s R&B take of the 40s swing hit “Why Don’t You Do Right.”

Hart’s vocals are incredibly muscular along with thick guitar riffs as they hint at Humble Pie on “Black Coffee.” Hart, having a church life in her blood, feels at home on the 2 step gospel pummper “Saved” while tapping into her inner Dorothy Love Coates and mixes soul with swaying church praises on the smoky “Soul On Fire.”

She’s on tour right now, and if she does material from this album, you won’t want to miss it.

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