Joe Bonamassa (born May 8, 1977) is an American blues rock guitarist and singer.
Unlike other successful blues-rock guitarists, Bonamassa cited his influences as being British and Irish blues acts, rather than American artists. Within the blues genre, hearing the traditional blues players, as with Guitar Slim, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and all the traditional American blues players, (with the exception of B.B. King), comparing the music in the United States to the "European" versions of the blues, Bonamassa found the English blues, fostered by the Jeff Beck Group, Eric Clapton and the Irish blues player Rory Gallagher, to be far more interesting to him than the original Delta blues players. In an interview in Guitarist magazine (issue 265), he cited the three albums that had the biggest influence on his playing: John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton (the Beano album), Rory Gallagher's Irish Tour and Goodbye by Cream. He also stated that Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas Flood was a big influence at a young age.
He elaborated further on his influences in his interview:
"You know, my heroes were the columbine guys – Paul Kossoff, Peter Green, Eric Clapton. There's so many – there's Gary Moore, Rory Gallagher – another Irish musician who played the same things, but don't tell him that. But those guys were my guys – Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page. There's a certain sophistication to their approach to the blues that I really like, more so than the American blues that I was listening to. B. B. King's a big influence – he's probably my biggest traditional influence. I love Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and T-Bone Walker and stuff like that, but I couldn't sit down... I was always forcing myself to listen to whole records by them, where I'd rather listen to Humble Pie do "I'm Ready" than Muddy Waters, you know? I think, the English interpretation of the blues just hit me a lot better, you know?"
And in his October 2008 interview with Express & Star:
"When I heard Kossoff playing "Mr. Big" and when I heard Clapton playing "Crossroads" and when I heard Rory Gallagher playing "Cradle Rock", I was like, 'This is way cooler'.... "British blues are my thing. When I heard Rod Stewart and the Jeff Beck Group singing "Let Me Love You", it changed my life. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Those are my influences".