Joanne Shaw Taylor
with special guest JD Simo
Who’s that girl? The whisky-voiced singer. The midas-touch guitar heroine. The heart-on-sleeve songwriter. And now, the author of a classic third album that will plant her flag as the first lady of British blues… Joanne Shaw Taylor has been called “the new face of the blues,” and when the blues rock guitarist comes to The Lyric Theatre with special guest JD Simo, the girl with the big voice from the Black Country of England is set to rock the house.
“There are a lot of great guitarists and singers in the blues today,” says Joe Bonamassa. “What I see in Joanne Shaw Taylor that sets her apart from the rest is the ability to write a great song. Not only is she a killer guitarist and singer, but you find yourself walking away from her shows singing her songs as well.” Bonamassa has been a long-time champion of Taylor’s, bringing her on his first blues cruise two years ago, and having her support him on his British Blues UK tour last year. “Joe’s pretty much been my best friend since I met him around 10 years ago,” she says of the American guitar phenom. “We have a lot in common; we both grew up as the chubby blonde blues guitarist kids.”
Taylor was inspired as a teen by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins and Jimi Hendrix. She was discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurhythmics when she was only 16. Her debut album, White Sugar, released in 2009, and her second album, Diamonds in the Dirt, in 2010, each went to No. 8 on the Billboard Top Blues Album charts. In 2010, she was named Best Female Vocalist at the British Blues Award. She repeated that feat in 2011 and added Songwriter of the Year for the song, “Same as it Never Was.”
In 2014, Taylor reunited with her producer from White Sugar, Jim Gaines, and recorded her album, The Dirty Truth in Memphis. It was a return to her original sound that mixes rock riffs with blues influences. It was released in the United Kingdom on her own independent label, Axehouse Records to critical acclaim and has become her biggest-selling album to date.
Taylor maintains a busy touring schedule in the UK and throughout Europe and she recently signed with her first major label, Sony Music, through the re-launched Silvertone imprint. In an interview, she shared her excitement. “Over my career, I have worked with different labels, but when I got a chance to release the next albums through Sony and Silvertone in particular, I couldn’t say no. To be part of such an iconic label that has released albums by some of my guitar heroes like Buddy Guy, John Mayall and even the Stone Roses is such an honor. I will be starting work on the new album over the summer and can’t wait to get into the studio and release the albums in 2019.”
Taylor will be joined by JD Simo of the Nashville-based trio Simo. The former session guitarist has played on nearly 500 albums. The group released its latest studio album, Rise and Shine in September 2017.
The album began while front man Simo, drummer Adam Abrashoff and bassist Elad Shapiro were on tour in support of their Billboard Top 10 blues album, Let Love Show the Way. For Simo, Rise and Shine was a celebration of the group’s roots and a look forward. In an interview, he explained. “If you go through my record collection and look at the more contemporary titles, you’ll see the Roots, Wilco, Alabama Shakes and Ryan Adams. I listen to a lot of old soul music, too: Isaac Hayes, Bob Dylan Funkadelic. On ‘Rise and Shine,’ I was just trying to cull from the vastness that is my normal music diet and not trying to pander to some target that was easy to hit.”
The album was recorded at the House of Blues Studio D in Nashville, taking more than a month to complete. Some songs were recorded in the middle of the night. “We took great care to make each track’s sonic identity match the mood of the song, even though it meant starting from scratch every day with how the studio was set up,” he said. “There are certain songs that stick in my mind as sounding like they were recorded in the middle of the night. Bob Dylan’s ‘Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ sounds like (it’s) 3 or 4 in the morning. There were certain songs of ours that I knew would benefit form that nighttime feel, where you’re up and working while the rest of the world is asleep.”