Essential Listening: Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks (DVD) by Joe Bonamassa

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Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks (DVD)

“They always try to write off the blues; well we’ve proven tonight that at least 9,000 people like the blues,” says celebrated blues rock master Joe Bonamassa who releases “Joe Bonamassa – Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks” on DVD, Blu-ray and CD set on March 23, 2015.

The exclusive concert experience, which is a tribute to blues legends Muddy Waters andHowlin’ Wolf, was filmed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre over Labor Day weekend 2014.

Carved into the bedrock of Colorado’s majestic Rocky Mountains, the famed amphitheatre sets the stage for Bonamassa’s fiery delivery of over 2.5 hours of bluesy guitar-wailing and horn-filled tunes honouring the two Blues greats. Playing to a sold-out crowd of 9,000 fans, this marks the biggest show of Bonamassa’s career, a major milestone for the bluesman.

The Blu-ray and DVD contains over 1.5 hours of bonus features including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, photo gallery, historic footage of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and a featurette of Bonamassa and producer Kevin Shirley’s trip to The Crossroads.

Unlike any Bonamassa show before, Muddy Wolf marks the start of a tribute concert series that will display a different band and catalogue of material that will vary from Bonamassa’s music as a solo artist. For Muddy Wolf, songs were carefully selected from the catalogues of Howlin’ Wolf, one of Chicago’s most influential bluesmen, known for his deep, scratchy voice, and Muddy Waters, considered the “father of modern Chicago blues.”

Muddy Waters was a major inspiration for the British blues explosion of the 1960s, a genre that has heavily influenced Bonamassa’s original music throughout his career. The concert features a selection of songs from each artist, followed by a 30-minute set of songs from Bonamassa’s own extensive catalogue, plus a line-up of players different from Bonamassa’s touring band, dubbed the “Muddy Wolf Band” which includes Anton Fig (drums), Michael Rhodes (bass),Reese Wynans (piano, Hammond organ), Lee Thornburg (trumpet, horn arrangements), Ron Dziubla (saxophone), Nick Lane (trombone), Mike Henderson (harmonica), and Kirk Fletcher(guitar).

Of the experience, a humbled and grateful Bonamassa says – “Inspired was the feeling that permeated the camp from the very downbeat. It was the gig of a lifetime for me. What you see on this DVD is what it was like to play in front of the largest audience of my career, playing music that I loved, love, and fell in love with again in a much bigger way than I had before.

The concert is presented by Keeping the Blues Alive (KTBA), which Bonamassa founded, and helps to promote the heritage of the blues to the next generation, fund music scholarships, and supplement the loss of music education programs in public schools. With ticket sales from the show, KTBA raised over $40,000 for schools across the country.

What was proved on this night, with $40,000 raised for charity and 9,000 fans dancing to Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf songs, is that blues music is alive and well.

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