Joanna Connor / Discusses working with Joe Bonamassa on new album

15 January 2021

Joanna Connor will release her 14th album ‘4801 South Indiana Avenue’ on Joe Bonamassa’s new independent Blues record label Keeping The Blues Alive, on 26 February 2021. It is the follow up to her critically acclaimed studio album Rise, also produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith.

Joanna told MetalTalk: “We chose the album title ‘4801 South Indiana Avenue’ because it was the actual street address of the hallowed funky Blues sanctuary ‘Theresa’s Lounge.’

“We want the listener to open that door, walk in and feel to their core some of the magic that a place like that brought night after night. It was an honour to bring this to you, the listener.”

An edgy and highly innovative Blues Rock guitarist, Joanna has been recognised as one of the most powerful and influential female guitarists on the planet, while her roots are always in Chicago.

She said: “This album is a homage to the Blues school that I attended in Chicago. We attempted to capture the spirit of tradition and inject it with raw energy and passion.”

Working With Joe Bonamassa

Discussing how she came to work with Joe Bonamassa, Joanna says: “Joe retweeted one of my videos last May and it went viral on his site. I thanked him in a message, gave him my contact info and he immediately responded.

“He opened for me years ago at the House of Blues Backporch Stage in Chicago, where I played weekly for years!

“Joe was totally aware of me for years. He wanted to make an album for me that he felt I needed to make and had never really made.”

Chicago-based Blues slide guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter Joanna Connor

On recording the new album, Joe pushed Joanna which enabled her to deliver a more powerful vocal on every track. Joanna says: “It was the hardest I have ever pushed my voice ever. [With guitars] we used no effects, lots of cool guitars and vintage amps, which is new for me.

“We tried to redo it to portray the deep history I have in the Blues genre, bring out the thousands of sweaty hours in those Blues clubs in Chicago and deliver it to the record.”

We asked why Bonamassa showed an interest in getting involved. Joanna said: “I remember asking Joe point blank, ‘Out of all the guitar players in the world why me?’

“He said, ‘Because you have an intensity about your playing that most people do not have. As a matter of fact, I wish I had some of that in myself, where you just let it go and you don’t even think about it.’”

The Kingston Mines Blues Club

Joanna Connor has a history seeped in Chicago. She made her debut at Chicago’s premiere blues club Kingston Mines in the 80’s and she has played there three nights a week ever since, until the rise of COVID-19.

The Chicago based slide guitar virtuoso has previously played with the likes of James Cotton, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Page, and Junior Wells on her gigs at larger clubs and festivals over the years.

‘4801 South Indiana Avenue’ is out 26 February 2021, on Keeping The Blues Alive. Pre-orders on vinyl and digital can be made at https://jbonamassa.com/albums/2021/joannaconnor/4801/

4801 South Indiana Avenue

1. Destination (3:31)
2. Come Back Home (4:19)
3. Bad News (6:26)
4. I Feel So Good (3:35)
5. For The Love Of A Man (4:20)
6. Trouble Trouble (3:40)
7. Please Help (4:14)
8. Cut You Loose (4:09)
9. Part Time Love (5:06)
10. It’s My Time (4:39)

Recorded and Mixed by JJ Blair
Assistant Engineer Austin Atwood
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Ludwig Mastering
Produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith
Executive Producer – Roy Weisman
Recorded at OceanWay Studios Nashville, TN

Musicians

Joanna Connor – Vocals, Guitar all tracks
Joe Bonamassa – Guitar on all tracks (Solos on 9 & 10)
Josh Smith – Guitar on all tracks
Reese Wynans – Keyboards
Calvin Turner – Bass
Lemar Carter – Drums and Percussion
Steve Patrick – Trumpet
Mark Douthit – Saxophone
Barry Green – Trombone
Jimmy Hall – Vocals on Track 1
Horn Arrangements by Calvin Turner

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