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Originally published April 12, 2013 at 5:31 AM | Page modified April 15, 2013 at 3:44 PM

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Concert Preview: Joe Bonamassa will rock the blues

The last album of blues guitar hero Joe Bonamassa was acoustic, but expect him to rock out at the Paramount on Friday.

Special to The Seattle Times

Concert preview

Joe Bonamassa

8 p.m. Friday at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $59-$99 (877-784-4849 or

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Since James Brown passed, perhaps no musical artist working today can lay a more proper claim to the title “Hardest Working Man in Show Business” than Joe Bonamassa.

Since his last appearance in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre in 2011, the blues rock stalwart has released three studio albums and three live records, while playing dozens of dates on several continents.

On his latest release, “An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House,” Bonamassa put away his electric guitars and Marshall amps in favor of a Martin O-17 to re-imagine a number of songs from his extensive catalog.

Backed by top world-music players, he revamped traditional heavy blues rock numbers from his catalog.

But if you are looking for an all-acoustic show at the Paramount on Friday, you will be sadly disappointed. Bonamassa is a dyed-in-the-wool rocker who cites artists like Eric Clapton, Paul Kossoff and Rory Gallagher as major influences.

With songs like “Blue and Evil,” “The Ballad of John Henry” and “Just Got Paid,” Bonamassa evokes Led Zeppelin at its heaviest and most brutal. Other numbers like “Sloe Gin,” “If Heartaches Were Nickels” and “The Last Matador of Bayonne” typically extend into elongated minor-key blues jams that display his virtuosity.

This isn’t to say the musician will neglect the acoustic guitar. His up-tempo acoustic track “Woke Up Dreaming” has been a centerpiece and fan favorite for years.

With most of the world’s rock guitar gods either gone or nearing 70 or beyond, Bonamassa is proving to be the last great bastion of a genre.

Corbin Reiff:

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