Shaw Taylor, Joanne
"I have played with all sorts of blues musicians all over the world, I even made a film Deep Blues where I went to Mississippi and recorded with some legendary players such as R.L Burnside and Jesse-Mae Hemphill".
"Last year I heard something I thought I would never hear... a British White Girl playing blues guitar so deep and passionately it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end!" (Dave Stewart/Eurythmics)
When Dave Stewart had his big experience, Joanne Shaw Taylor was only 16. Her skills at the Telecaster were so perfect that the blues fan and Eurythmics-frontman asked her to join his supergroup D.U.P. to tour Europe in 2002. She was also offered a record contract but the label went bust. Today Joanne is 23 and happy about the fact that she took her time with the recording debut: "I wanted to take time out to really work on my craft and make sure that when I did an album it was the best that I could do."
For White Sugar Joanne took a plane to Memphis where her label RUF had booked Jim Gaines' studio. Jim had worked with some of Joanne's idols like Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan. He brought in the experienced sessionmen Steve Potts (drums) and Dave Smith (bass). "Working with these guys was totally easy. I knew of them because of Luther Allison and Jonny Lang's albums. They didn't know the tracks until five minutes before we recorded them. I made them listen to the songs once and then play them. It was fantastic. They got so much feeling and soul. They are amazing guys to work with."
The power trio - that's the kind of band which suits Joanne Shaw Taylor, are also at home in Birmingham, where she and her trio play the pubs, clubs and festivals. "I always wanted to try the power trio thing, like Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Paladins or Jimi Hendrix. I thought it would bring me on as a guitar player and a singer - which I think it has done. And" - Joanne chuckles - "it's also cheaper, you know."
She talks about some influences. When Joanne was a little schoolgirl, she was caught by the rough side of the blues: SRV, Albert Collins, the Paladins, Jimi Hendrix. At Christmas she got her first electric guitar. The old classical guitar, which she had played since she was eight, vanished from the children's room. "As soon as I heard SRV and Albert Collins I knew pretty much that I wanted to do that full stop. That was the lifestyle route that I was going to go down. It was never a hobby. I was always very serious and dedicated to it."
White Sugar is the proof. The confident and young British woman keeps the traditions of her idols but she is going her own way. With her record debut she demonstrates her talent with ten songs that she has written herself. Playing the hard stuff à la SRV, making us feel the bite of her Telecaster just like Albert Collins did or working out charming little riffs from the Jimi Hendrix book - Joanne is always seeking - and finding - new terrain. Funky shuffles, soulful ballads or the hypnotic hookline of the title track, a burning instrumental, she presents her craft powerfully. Some songs were written during the flight to Memphis, a few others were written 10 years ago and are kind of her signature tunes.
There is the autobiographical Kiss The Ground Goodbye, deep feelings come wirh Heavy Heart or Blackest Day, a song that Joanne wrote when she was 14. "With Blackest Day I really wanted to show my influences." She can be proud of her first album." "She's my pride & joy..." SRV once sang. Her fans will be proud of Joanne, too...
"She plays with more attitude and flare than most. Massive potential here. Inspiring."
"Catch her live if you can, then you can say: I was there at the beginning"
Blue Print Magazine
"Joanne IS the new face of the blues"