A Black Country blues star with scorching guitar skills

Joanne Shaw Taylor. Picture: Andrew Lock
Joanne Shaw Taylor. Picture: Andrew Lock

My first experience of the blues magic of Black Country born Joanne Shaw Taylor was her support set for one of the genre’s legends, Johnny Winter, at the Leamington Assembly in May 2009 (writes Andrew Lock).

Her electrifying debut album White Sugar was hot off the press and live she was the real deal.

Later that year she appeared with a whole roster of blues artists at the same venue’s Blues Assembly event where she again wowed the crowd.

Last year with another two critically acclaimed albums under her belt and several blues awards she returned to the Assembly for a triumphant headline show, where our local blues star Laurence Jones made a guest appearance trading licks with Joanne.

She has a high regard and friendship with Laurence and told me when she was around 14 playing a festival in the Cotswolds a very young Laurence (about four or five) was lapping up the music dancing away front of stage.

Joanne has Leamington connections as she lived in the town for around seven years and remembers walking home from her Johnny Winter support set at The Assembly.

She has a home in the USA but spends a lot of her time in the UK and appeared with Annie Lennox at the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of thousands (17 million on TV!) which she said was an incredible if bizarre experience.

On Saturday September 26 you can catch her in action at The Coventry Copper Rooms at Warwick University where her performance will include numbers from her sensational latest album The Dirty Truth. Recorded in Memphis, the album revisits the style of her stunning debut (rocking riffs and scorching blues) with that album’s producer Jim Gaines again at the helm.

This tour will also be a ‘greatest hits’ set revisiting numbers from all her albums.

In recent years the UK blues scene has been rich and flowing with amazing talent and Joanne is one of its shining stars – her guitar work is electrifying and incorporates many blues styles (and occasionally other musical genres). She has a unique, smokey vocal style, is a quality songwriter and with her top-drawer band live she is sensational.

Joanne Shaw Taylor plays Coventry Copper Rooms on Saturday September 26. Tickets are available from www.thegigcartel.com and the 24-hour box office on 08444 780898.