I have always been thoroughly underwhelmed by Joe's playing - but from his posts here he seems like a nice enough kid, and at least he plays the things instead of hiding them from the world.Pfffffft joebo ... note how all his guitars are sudden barn finds that need work then appear on the resale market as used by him after all the media hype. I have serious doubts about the guy. Just my opinion.
I like Joe B. Never had an issue with him.To be honest, 15 years ago, I wasn't a fan, but I honestly believe that Joe has
matured over the years. 15 years ago, Joe seemed sheltered, opinionated,
spoiled and had the air of invincibility often seen in a prodigy.
Today, I see humility, and graciousness that come from maturity, and he has
talent. His writing, and playing have earned him the respect of his peers, and
when playing with them, he stays in the background playing rhythm, unless
they insist he takes the lead. I respect him much more today.
He was coming to a place near me a while back; it's a beautiful old theater, so I thought "Eh, give him another chance". Cheapest ticket was $175, highest was $765. I wouldn't pay that (either one) to see a repeat (today) of the Feb. 1971 Fillmore East Dead/Allmans/Mac jam, let alone a kid in a suit 3 sizes too small doing the same blues-rock clichés I could see done better at a thousand corner bars any day of the week.Ya. That he's not an original is probably the worst thing I could say about him. The guy was born 20 years too late.
He plays the gear and the music I love. I'd love to hang and jam with him for a day or 20 (that's how long it'd take to go through 1/10 of the cool shit he owns).
I love the blues as well, but maybe I'm jaded. I had the great good fortune to work as a soundman & roadie for acts based in & around Chicago in the late '70s & early '80s; besides seeing many greats on a regular basis, I got to work with Mick Scott, Geoff Kennard, Billy Prewitt, Dick Vonachen, Bob Chamberlin, Conrad Black, Pete Special, Mick Dimikas, Lonnie Brooks, Larry Clymer, Barstool Bob Levis, Duke Tumato, Larry Burton, Steve Freund, Ricky Rainbow, Donnie Walsh, Jimmy Thackery, Ronnie Earl (when he was still Ronnie Earl Horvath), Albert Collins, Leo Nocentelli - well, you get the idea. Dimikas was the only one of them whose playing did not, in my opinion, blow Joe's away.Put me solidly in the JB fan category. He may not be “original” (like Clapton was back in the 60s playing old blues licks? Or Page was in the 60s/70s playing old blues licks?) Very few people/players are “original”... in fact most of the legendary guitar heroes of yesteryear were just putting old blues licks through gain for a young white audience who’d never heard them before, thus they sounded new and “original”.
JB plays the blues. I like the blues. It’s a pretty simple equation.
To be honest though, JB is at his best when he’s not the focus. For example, when he’s playing with another artist (singer) like Beth Hart. Much like Clapton, he seems to shine when he can step forward and wow you… then step back and let someone else have the spotlight again. Not saying I don’t like when he sings or his personal music, just that he’s even better in the support/collaborator role.