By Michael Rampa

It’s nice to get what you want. In light of the meteoric rise of his solo career, Joe Bonamassa has said, “One of my greatest joys is being part of a band. I don’t have to sing, front it and be ‘the guy.’” He gets his wish as a member of the all-star lineup of Rock Candy Funk Party. The band’s sophomore release, “Groove Is King” is a 16-song genre blurring collection of mostly original material. There has been a trend in today’s musical landscape to incorporate funk. Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and even Martina McBride are backed by funk outfits. But make no mistake, RCFP is all about the straight up nasty groove of the genre’s origins. Bonamassa is best known for his high voltage bluesy Gibson. Guitarist Ron Dejesus (The Emotions, Tio Puente, and Hugh Maselka) proves equally adept and makes it difficult to tell who is playing lead. Sometimes, the two play different musical styles in tandem. Elsewhere, percussionist Daniel Sodownick puts on a four minute speed clinic midway with “If Six Was Eight.”

As much as this collection is an all-out jam fest with slap bass, rocking guitar and catchy melodies, somehow the ensemble has the ability to draw your attention to the space in and around the songs.

In a tip of  the cap to disco, the echoed Strat on ”Don’t Be Stingy With the SMPTE”  channels Nile Rogers from his early days with Chic.


Bonamassa said, “Of all the things I have done in my career and the bands I have been a part of, this the one that is not interchangeable.” Indeed, this is a case where the collective effort shines and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.