JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR — the award-winning and much-garlanded West Midlands-born British blues-rock vocalist/guitar genius will release her next disc, “The Blues Album” on September 24th via Joe Bonamassa’s new independent label KTBA Records (Keeping the Blues Alive.)
The album features individualized versions of distinctively chosen, yet rarely heard, blues cuts that were originally recorded by artists such as: Albert King, Peter Green, Little Richard, Magic Sam, Aretha Franklin, Little Milton, and many more.
When the pandemic put the brakes on touring, Joanne thought it was the right time to head into the studio to record The Blues Album she had always dreamed of making…
I mentioned my new project idea to Joe Bonamassa…
“I mentioned my new project idea to Joe Bonamassa,” recalls Joanne. “He asked me for my song choices. Immediately he began sending me notes and was texting me song suggestions.”
Joanne and Joe have been best friends and fans of each other’s music for many years. Joanne had always wanted to work with Joe if the right project or collaboration came about.
“He was already acting as a mentor as well as an unofficial producer on The Blues Album, so I asked him if he’d fancy the job, officially,” says Joanne. “Thankfully, he accepted. The Blues Album has been everything I hoped it would be. It’s been a labor of love, overseen by an artist, producer, and friend who I trust beyond measure.”
The Blues Album, the follow up to 2019’s critically acclaimed album Reckless Heart, features Josh Smith (guitar), Reese Wynans (keyboards), Greg Morrow (drums), Steve Mackey (bass), Steve Patrick (trumpet), Mark Douthit (sax), Barry Green (trombone). Joe Bonamassa plays guitar and sings on the track Don’t Go Away Mad with Mike Farris (Double Trouble) joining as special guest on the track “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got.”
Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith produced the album at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.
On the vast “Can’t You See What You‘re Doing to Me” (first released by Albert King in 1970) her voice has the texture of mustard and venom, insanely low and hoarse, emollient but shaky, because this number speaks about dealing with irrepressible lust and facing the inevitable withdrawal pains when love is lost. That’s why the guitar cracks like a whip, while the enormously talented orchestra oozes slink ‘n’ sparkle.
Essentially, it’s about having a rug pulled from under your feet… a slap in the face from a lover you need… but you know will leave you heartbroken. As such, this embodies heart, hurt and horniness!
JST has some pretty large boots to fill on the cover of the 1965 Don Covay number (he’s pictured below) “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got (but it’s got me)” because Jimi Hendrix (no less) played on the original Little Richard recording!
It’s always been a beautiful tune, and now it’s filled with even more velvety emotion as Joanne’s voice purrs softly, like a damask pantherine, accompanied by the talented Nashville all-rounder, Mike Farris. The guitar is brave without being forgiving and tearful without being cheesy. This is good old-fashioned no regrets blues… and in our opinion, a high-point of the album.
Her Little Milton cover titled “Let Me Down Easy” is a brilliant mix of sparkling tears and velvety acrimony. The superb guitar is flanked by considerable portions of blues-power orchestration.
Joanne’s voice is at its gunsmoke-shimmery best and like we have already reported, her firecracker guitar screams like a banshee for mercy. In our opinion, this is one of the best numbers JST has ever delivered. Epic pain, epic torment, epic redemption!
“If That Ain’t A Reason” (first released as a single in early summer) is a succulent funkadelic number with thick, greasy cornet notes, lubricating backing vocal, and (of course) an airy guitar explosion that vents the midpoint and dissects that wonderfully glutinous organ, like a silver scalpel. Yes, this is very sticky and very seductive!
For fans of : Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Don Covay & The Goodtimers
Words: @neilmach 2021 ©
Photo credit: © Christie Goodwin
Joanne Shaw Taylor’s “The Blues Album” is released by KTBA Records on September 24th via www.ktbarecords.com