Interview: Joe Bonamassa Discusses Gear and His Return to Blues-Rock on ‘Driving Towards the Daylight’

 ” It’s Saturday night in Cleveland, April 14, and blues guitar legend Freddie King has just been posthumously inducted by ZZ Top into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “Early Influences” category.

As the curtain behind the podium in Public Hall parts and the wailing starts, Joe Bonamassa is standing on the big stage shoulder to shoulder with Billy Gibbons and Derek Trucks to pay musical tribute to the style’s late prince of the feral six-string.

They tear out a jaunty version of King’s 1961 instrumental hit “Hide Away,” named after a Chicago blues dive, and then gear up for “Going Down,” a tune written by Memphis songwriter Don Nix that King made a staple of the modern blues-rock canon. Gibbons plays it cool and tone-y, sticking to the song’s bones but sucking on their marrow. Trucks goes for fiery understatement, emulating King’s switchblade finger picking with his slide “