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Where most 16 year olds are dreaming of having older friends, staying out late in smoky bars and playing music for a living, 16-year-old guitar prodigy Joe Bonamassa was actually living that life. He cut his teeth at age 12, opening up for B.B. King during a sweltering East Coast Summer in 1989 and by the time this performance took place in 1993 had already shared a stage with some of the biggest names in the blues world. The boy they called “Smokin’ Joe” took the stage with blues guitarist Robben Ford at the Leo Fender Special and armed with a Fender Stratocaster, began tearing through some pretty intense, pretty intricate blues licks at a pace that forced his very much adult band to keep up with him.
Fun Fact: When Joe’s not on the road or in the studio, you can find him at…Home Depot. Yep, you read right: the now 38 year old guitar prodigy loves to remodel his home, and Home Depot is his favorite DIY haunt!
With a mentor like B.B. King, it’s no wonder Joe Bonamassa was such a force to be reckoned with before he was even able to drive a car – there’s a passion in his playing that can’t be taught, only honed and molded by someone who’s already been down that road before. These days, Joe is one of the most celebrated blues guitarists in the world, still sharing stages with the guitar world’s best and brightest. Take a look back on this master musician’s early days and marvel at what he was capable of long before even he knew where his music would take him!