Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa, "Seesaw" (J&R Adventures)
Singer Beth Hart and guitarist Joe Bonamassa have a soulful and sultry new album out with "Seesaw." With her voice and his guitar, the album has all the pieces in place to deliver bluesy fireworks built around some decades-old standards.
But purists will be put off by the cacophony of strings and a frequently overbearing horn section. Moreover, you don't have to be a purist to want to hear Bonamassa race over the frets of his vintage Gibsons, yet he is occasionally reduced to the undeserving role of a backup ax on several tracks that fail to showcase his skills.
Hart holds up her end of the deal well. How could she not with a voice like that? She's all sizzle on raucous tracks like "Nutbush City Limits," doing the Tina Turner tune justice. And she and Bonamassa go full tilt on Buddy Miles' "Miss Lady," easily one of the album's best songs.
But for two blues heavyweights with very few modern day peers, "Seesaw" still feels like a missed opportunity. Fewer instruments in between Hart's voice and Bonamassa's guitar might have offered an even better display of their talents.