|Joanne Shaw Taylor — Songs from the Road (2013)|
Joanne Shaw Taylor — Songs from the Road
Ξ Joanne Shaw TaylorTaylor embodies all the elements of modern blues, even if she sings with a distinctively British accent. Given her extraordinary dexterity as a guitarist and well-developed vocal chops, Taylor was already a sensation on the blues festival circuit in both the U.S. and Great Britain when only in her mid-twenties.
Location: Birmingham, UK ~ Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Album release: November 4th (UK), 12th (US) 2013
Recorded: at the Borderline in London back in May 2013
Record Label: Ruf Records
01. Soul Station 5:57
02. Tied And Bound 6:43
03. Beautifully Broken 7:32
04. Watch 'Em Burn 10:08
05. Diamonds In The Dirt 6:52
06. Manic Depression 7:38
07. Jealousy 7:10
08. Kiss The Ground Goodbye 7:28
09. Just Another Word 4:24
10. Band Introductions 0:30
11. Jump That Train 6:37
12. Going Home 5:36
01. Soul Station
02. Tied And Bound
03. Beautifully Broken
04. Watch 'Em Burn
05. Diamonds In The Dirt
06. You Should Stay I Should Go
07. Almost Always Never
09. Kiss The Ground Goodbye
10. Just Another Word
11. Let It Burn
12. Time Has Come
13. Jump That Train
14. Lose Myself To Loving You
15. Going Home
◊≡ One night. One shot. No safety net. If there was pressure afoot as Joanne Shaw Taylor walked onstage at The Borderline on May 12th, 2013, then the bandleader used it as rocket-fuel, channeling the vibe into the set of her life. Now, six months later, that explosive performance is captured on Songs From The Road: a live album with the soul power to jostle the greats off the podium.
◊≡ “I’m really pleased with it,” says Joanne. “It’s everything I wanted it to be.”
◊≡ As the latest release in Ruf Records’ legendary Songs From The Road series, this CD/DVD set is the live album you’ve been screaming for. “The timing is good,” agrees Joanne. “My fans, and especially the blues fans, have been asking me for a live album for a while now. I’m glad that we waited, and didn’t do it two years ago, because hopefully I’ve improved. We’ve done three studio albums now, so I think the live album ties all the albums together.”
◊≡ A seasoned road-warrior since 2009’s debut album White Sugar, Joanne has nothing to fear from the stage, but the demands of her diary meant Songs From The Road presented a logistical challenge. “We only had one chance to do it because of my schedule,” she reflects. “If I’d have played terribly — which fortunately I don’t think I did — it would have been unusable. It worked out really well, and I think a big part of that is because the fans were so good.
◊≡ “We wanted to do it in London,” Joanne continues, “and the reason for picking The Borderline was because I wanted something small and intimate. I grew up being inspired by those small Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins club gigs, and I wanted to have that same ‘everyone-packed-in-like-sardines’ vibe — as opposed to a big production and losing some of that intimacy.”
◊≡ If the crowd brought the atmosphere, then Joanne brought the songs. While some bands merely sleepwalk through the hits live, Songs From The Road finds the bandleader pulling her back catalogue around by the hair, ensuring that from early favourites like Going Home to current roof-raisers like Soul Station, these songs are very different beasts to the studio originals.
◊≡ “I think there’s a very different energy live: that’s probably the main thing,” she notes. “I’m a live guitar player. There’s definitely more guitar in my live show than on any of the albums. I tend to lose all sense of control once I get onstage and everything is twenty beats faster than it’s meant to be! And there were no overdubs, so what you hear is what you get.”
◊≡ If you only know Joanne Shaw Taylor as the songwriter and studio magician, then it’s time you heard Songs From The Road. Released November 2013 on Ruf Records, it’s a candid snapshot from the road that makes your front room feel like the front row. ◊≡ “That night was just really good fun,” she reflects. “And I think that translates on the album.”
◊≡ The Blues has a loud and proud history in the UK and the latest flag bearer is a girl; Joanne Shaw Taylor, who can play a Gibson Les Paul as well as any of the elder statesmen who flock to her gigs, and with Songs from the Road you can hear why.
◊≡ Joanne recorded this album at the Borderline in London back in May 2013; with the opener only needing a couple of taught bass notes followed by a trademark guitar run for fans to recognise Soul Station and we are off and running.
◊≡ There are no surprises here, with fan favourites like Tied & Bound, Diamonds in The Dirt and Beautifully Broken coming at you like a machine gun; with each track elongated by intricate and potent guitar solos from the Queen of British Blues.
◊≡ About half way through the set Joanne slows things down and gets very soulful with a heartfelt version of Frankie Miller’s Jealousy that takes the original and adds extra fire and brimstone, proving the young lady is no one-trick pony.
◊≡ Some of the notes on the ten minute opus Watch ‘em Burn actually explode in your ears and the organ had me remembering the early days of Deep Purple and Joanne’s adaptation of Hendrix’s Manic Depression is virtually unrecognisable as she makes it her very own.
Artist Biography by Richard Skelly
◊≡ Joanne Shaw TaylorTaylor embodies all the elements of modern blues, even if she sings with a distinctively British accent. Given her extraordinary dexterity as a guitarist and well-developed vocal chops, Taylor was already a sensation on the blues festival circuit in both the U.S. and Great Britain when only in her mid-twenties. Taylor caught the blues bug as a young teenager growing up in the Birmingham area. She heard guitarists Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, and Jimi Hendrix and knew then that was the kind of music she wanted to pursue, eventually full-time.
◊≡ Producer Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame) said of Taylor, several years previously when he first heard her: "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!" (Taylor was just 16 years old at that time.) Stewart was so impressed with her playing and musicianship that he asked her to accompany his supergroup, D.U.P., in touring Europe in 2002. She was also offered a record deal but the company went bankrupt.
White Sugar Seven years later, in May 2009 and with Taylor 23 years old, she released her stunning debut album, White Sugar, for Ruf Records, a German label with U.S. offices and a strong U.S. presence. She followed it up with extended U.S. touring, including shows with pianist and singer/songwriter Candye Kane. For her debut, Taylor went to the producer she most admired, Jim Gaines, who also produced good albums by her favorite blues players, including Jonny Lang, Luther Allison, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Carlos Santana. Accompanying her on White Sugar were veteran Memphis recording session players Steve Potts on drums and Dave Smith on bass.
◊≡ Good things are in the offing for this up-and-coming blues and blues-rock talent, and a glance at her website reveals a frantic touring schedule. She's clearly willing to work at her craft and put in the kind of air and ground miles needed to build a grassroots following in today's music business.
|Joanne Shaw Taylor — Songs from the Road (2013)|