Joe Bonamassa is the guitarist version of Kenny G?!?! ....with not a lot of soul!?!? Sorry man but I couldn't disagree more...are you actually familiar with Joe's plaing and music? There is no disrespect intended here because I really don't want to derail your thread in any way and I've seen you post in many other threads and you seem like a cool guy but I really don't get where you are coming from on this one...
I think that Joe is probably one of the most technically adept players out there. I just don't get an emotional charge from his playing like I do from lesser technicians out there. Anyway, some comments on these two links outline what I tend to feel about Joe:
Also, while I believe some guitarists who are technical may lack in soul, some have improved on the soul department and picked that up in their arsenal. When I think of early technicians with a big emphasis on the "T" in technician, it's early Joe Satriani. During that time I still liked the soul of Eddie Van Halen or Carlos Santana more and wished Satch could slow down some and do some more soulful stuff. As time went on, Satiani started to venture more into the feel of his playing and got that soul. It reminded me of the tin man who wanted a heart and finally got it. I don't doubt Bonamassa can do the same and redeem himself in the eyes of those who think he is only a great technician. Another great technician imho is John Mayer but I find him lacking in the soul that I found in early Clapton or BB King. My ultimate guitar solos for "soul" would be "Comfortably Numb" from David Gilmour or "Crossroads" from Cream. There are many others but I tend to like pre-rock guitar stuff, 50-70s rock, and that's what moves me but very little from later years. I don't know if this has to do with where the music business headed but I would rather listen to Carole King on her piano than Lady Gaga on hers even though they both sing and play beautifully.
I hope it's not a generational thing where I sound like the Baby Boomer saying, "The music in my day was much better than today's music". Even the metal I listened to like Metallica on their first three albums is much more interesting to me than the latest heavy stuff coming out of the djent scene even though I consider early speed metal and current djent just as creative equally.
I read an interesting article on how Rascal Flatts were the new "Eagles". While they have some great sounding stuff and totally remind me a lot of the Eagles at their peak, I still prefer Don Henley and company so much more. A lot of the key stuff in my life growing up corresponded with me going through puberty and being an Eagles fan. That builds a powerful bond and even if Rascal Flatts are the new Eagles, or even better, I don't think anything will replace the feeling of losing a high school girlfriend and listening to "Desperado". Some may find that a cheesy song and laugh at it but it has that special meaning for me and makes it hard to objectively criticize that song. Even stuff that a lot of people consider uber cheesy, like the Knack, came at a time in my youth that is so tied to their Sharona album that I will always hold that dear to my heart. They were compared to the Beatles in 1979 and broke some early concert and record album sales records, but to me they were the Beatles or the closest thing to pop magic for that year. A few years later, nobody wanted to hear anything from the Knack and they were largely seen as a joke in the music world. The Knack didn't stand the test of time even though at their peak, they seemed invincible.
Joe Bonamassa is arguably in his best year(s) and flying high, and time will only tell if he's one of the greats like a Clapton or Hendrix. There's no doubt he's a nice guy and comes to my small town of 1600 people to hang out in the vintage music store and jam with customers, and I find that totally cool. He even gave a guitar to the store and signed it. There's no doubt that the music business considers him one of the "nice guys" and that in itself has a lot of merit. I wouldn't want to hang out with difficult people like Anton from the Brian Jonestown Massacre but you don't have anybody out there questioning if he has creativity, soul, or passion. You could be a nice person and still be super creative and passionate in all that you do, but the industry is still full of a lot of terrible/difficult people who happen to be geniuses and as long as all I have to do is listen to their music then I am fine.