Joanne Shaw Taylor
The scene is stuffed with the next big blues artist. Sometimes it feels like you cannot move for tripping over the bodies of these wannabes. But there are a few gems around who shine on and brightly, and don’t need any hype to get their message across. And Joanne Shaw Taylor clearly fits into this elite.
Mind you, we all knew there was something special going on a while back. Because it was none other than Dave Stewart who first brought the lady to everyone’s attention. Yes, THAT Dave Stewart. Of Eurythmics fame. And he knows a serious talent when he hears it!
Taylor was just 16 when Stewart heard here, and he was so impressed that he invited the budding guitarist/vocalist to join his band D.U.P. in 2002 for a European tour. Taking her cue from gods such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins, she has developed her own style; it also helped that her dad was a harmonica player and Taylor grew up listening to all of these greats and others through her father’s blues records.
In 2009, Taylor released debut album ‘White Sugar’;, which immediately proved that here was someone who could make an impression on her own terms. With bassist David Smith and drummer Steve Potts giving her a tight trio line-up, Taylor continued to grow a year later with second album ‘Diamonds In The Dirt’, which also had Rick Steff on keyboards. Just how much attention she was getting became obvious when Taylor was voted Best Female Vocalist at the British Blues Awards in both 2010 and the following year. And also picked up the Songwriter Of The Year award at the latter for ‘Same As It Never Was’.
In 2012, Taylor played guitar with Annie Lennox at the Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace, and such was the impressive nature of her performance that even Stevie Wonder was left in admiration. The same year she put out third album ‘Almost Always Never’, with Billy White on bass, J.J. Johnson on drums and keyboard player David Garza. Since then, she’s put out three more records – two studio and one live – each of which has been warmly welcomed. The last of these, ‘Wild’, came out in 2016.
Incorporating influences from Paul Kossoff, Gary Moore and Bonnie Raitt into her growing repertoire, Taylor is continuing to grow as an artist. The journey has only just begun!
‘White Sugar’, ‘Watch ‘Em Burn’, ‘Same As It Never Was’
Their Finest Hour
‘White Sugar’ 2009
Live at Buckingham Palace, beautifully overcoming a pedal problem – and wearing daft wings!