No artist can promise fans they will see a perfect show when he or she steps on stage.

But fans can at least feel confident that Joe Bonamassa and his band have reached a point where when they take the stage, even if it’s the worst night of a tour, the show won’t be a train wreck.

“Here’s the thing, we always say this. We laugh about it a lot. Like the difference between our best night and our worst is only about 10 percent,” Bonamassa said in a recent phone interview.

Just don’t ask Bonamassa to grade his shows.

“The nights that we thought we were off, if you listen back to the tape, it’s on,” he said. “And the nights you thought you were really on, it was fine, but not as good as you think.”

“It (the show) is consistent and the band is very consistent,” the singer/guitarist said.

That level of quality is something Bonamassa has been building toward for two decades now, show by show, album after album. The same thing can be said of his career.

Since releasing his first solo album, “A New Day Yesterday,” in 2000, the blues-rocker has cranked out a dozen more studio albums, including his current release, “Redemption,” another dozen live releases, four studio albums with the band Black Country Communion, three releases with his other group, Rock Candy Funk Party, and four albums playing guitar for Beth Hart. Between those albums, Bonamassa has pretty much been on tour non-stop.

It’s only recently, that Bonamassa has decided he can take the foot of the gas pedal – just a bit.

“I’ve tried to reduce my commitments and my work load and stuff like that,” he said. “That’s been a real eye opener for me. It’s been a real good thing to have, to really kind of just step away from it and be like OK, I don’t have to work all the time. I really don’t.”

It would certainly seem like Bonamassa is now in a position where he doesn’t have to tour quite as much or rush through an album project to stay on a schedule. Even though he has never had a hit on rock radio, his albums routinely reach No. 1 on blues album charts and his tours visit a mix of large theaters and arenas.

But it isn’t just his hard-earned success that made Bonamassa feel like he could take things just a bit easier with his career. He reached a point with his life where he felt he needed to slow things down.

“I think it was just life catching up,” Bonamassa said, noting that he’s had some stumbling blocks to overcome over the past year or so. “We’ve been burning really hard for 10 years, ever since 2008. When you jump on the roller coaster, it becomes like a real, there are some challenges that lie ahead of you. And you end up becoming the person, you become the person that is the job. And you can let that go for so long, and every once in awhile, you’ve got to go ‘Hey, wait a minute, there’s more to life.’”

Bonamassa didn’t get too specific about the issues that have made life difficult of late or about the changes he has been making, saying he’s been quitting things that he found were becoming distractions and trying to find a better balance in his life.

“It’s just one of those things where you just try to, you ultimately try to become a better person and slow things down a little bit. That’s the hard part,” said Bonamassa, who on Oct. 25 showed he’s not exactly slacking by releasing a concert album, “Live at the Sydney Opera House.”

The more reflective stage Bonamassa has reached in life is showing up in his music. “Redemption” is a more inward-looking album for him, with a few songs in particular that seem quite personal and revealing.

Chief among those is “Self-Inflicted Wounds,” a beefy, slow-burning ballad that Bonamassa considers one of his best-written songs, where he confesses to the inner damage he’s allowed himself to suffer, concluding “The trust in me I have abused/Oh, have mercy on my self-inflicted wounds.” But “Just Cos You Can Don’t Mean You Should,” the title track and “Stronger Now in Broken Places” (with lyrics by co-writer Gary Nicholson) also speak to life lessons learned the hard way.

Bonamassa is finding a payoff to tapping into a more personal direction in his music.

“The more I let out of my personal life in songs, the better the songs come out. I’ve learned a lesson in that,” Bonamassa said. “And the more autobiographical you get, the more you feel things and the more the songs take on a meaning, moreso than (just) a bunch of cool lyrics. That’s been kind of the pervasive theme throughout the last couple of albums.”

Musically, “Redemption” may be Bonamassa’s most diverse solo album. There are still plenty of hard-hitting blues rock tunes, including “Evil Mama,” which introduces itself with a tip of the hat to Led Zeppelin before shifting into a heavy groove and music that puts a strong soul accent on the song’s rocking sound, “Molly O,” a tune that would fit within the big rock sound of Black Country Communion, and the spunky “I’ve Got Some Matter Over What Matters.”

But the new album also branches out as it evokes a bit of Tom Waits on “Pick Up The Pieces,” a sassy bit of barrelhouse blues that sounds like it could play in an old west saloon. On “King Bee Shakedown,” Bonamassa and his band put a rockabilly kick into this driving rocker. “The Ghost of Macon Jones” (featuring Jamey Johnson on guest vocals) adds some country to its rowdy sound.

The songs are strong, but getting “Redemption” to its completion presented some struggles for Bonamassa, who recorded in multiple studios with his touring band of Anton Fig (drums), Michael Rhodes (bass) Reese Wynans (former keyboardist in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble), Lee Thornburg (former trumpet player in Tower of Power) and Paulie Cerra (saxophone).

Early in the recording, Bonamassa struggled to get the right tones from his guitar and amp rig, eventually discovering that there was an issue with the studio console, but he said he and his long-time producer Kevin Shirley encountered a myriad of problems along the way.

“It was just a challenge,” Bonamassa said. “Without question, some of these things will fight you to the bitter end, and this one was no different. Then some of them (albums) come and they make themselves. It’s the same thing. You always want to bottle the ones that make themselves, but that’s not how it works.

“It’s little things, like it (a song) is too fast or too slow,” he added. “Different records will fight you in different ways. It wasn’t one thing in particular. It was all of the above.”

In the end, Bonamassa is happy with the “Redemption” album and he said he is playing several of the new songs on his current tour (along with some older tunes that have not been in his live set for a decade or so).

“I think the record came out good,” he said. “I think there are some really good songs on there, some strong songs on there. I would have left a few tracks off, but that’s neither here or there.

“People have been responding, so all the pain and suffering was worth it,” Bonamassa concluded.


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