Born in upstate New York, Joe Bonamassa started playing guitar, on a short-scale Chiquita, at the age of four. By seven he had graduated to a full-scale model and a year later, he was playing the blues like a veteran. Says Bonamassa, “My father was a guitar dealer and player, so guitars were always around the house and part of my life. They were like chairs or tables, in that they were just as everyday.”
At ten, Joe began performing at local venues and at twelve, he was asked to open for B. B. King. The blues legend, after hearing Joe play for the first time, declared, “This kid’s potential is unbelievable. He hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface. He’s one of a kind.” King’s high regard for Joe would be echoed by other guitar greats the young performer would go on to work with, including Buddy Guy, Danny Gatton, Robert Cray and Stephen Stills.
While still in his teens, Joe met musician Berry Oakley, Jr., and together they put together the group Bloodline. Signed to EMI Records, their self-titled debut CD on EMI produced two chart hits, “Stone Cold Hearted” and “Dixie Peach,” both hard-driving fusions of blues, boogie, funk, and southern roadhouse rock. Following initial success, Bloodline eventually disbanded. Joe, realizing that he would need to do more than play guitar, began studying with a vocal coach.